An Upper GI is examination of the esophagus, stomach and the first part of the small bowel using contrast (barium or gastrograffin). This exam is useful in diagnosing abnormalities of the digestive tract like ulcers, obstruction, reflux (heartburn), tumors, or to evaluate after surgery of the stomach.
How do I prepare for the exam?
Do not eat or drink anything after midnight the night before the exam.
What can I expect during the exam?
This exam is conducted by a radiologic technologist and a radiologist.
You will begin the exam in a standing position. You will be given a cup of "alka-seltzer like" crystals to swallow with a sip of water. These crystals will inflate your stomach. It is important to resist the urge to belch, as the inflation of the stomach makes it easier to visualize under fluoro (live x-rays).
After sufficient images have been obtained while you are standing, the table will be placed in a flat position and you will lie down and drink a few sips of contrast and/or water. You will also be asked to turn to several different positions to fully coat the stomach.
The exam usually takes 30 to 45 minutes.
What can I expect after the exam?
Drink plenty of water for two days following the exam. It is not uncommon for stools to be white or gray as the contrast is expelled from your system.