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Upper Gastrointestinal Imaging (UGI)

Focuses on the esophagus, stomach and duodenum.  Indications include, but ar not limited to:

  • Suspected ulcer/hiatal hernia
  • Gastroesophageal reflux/pain
  • Dyspepsia / Nausea / Vopmiting
  • Signs and/or symptoms of upper GI bleeding
  • Anemia / Weight Loss
  • Early satiety (feeling full)

The Upper GI procedure shows the form and function of the upper gastro-intestinal tract (GI Tract), which includes your esophagus, stomach and the very beginning of your small bowel (intestines).  Procedure Duration:  45 minutes

Patient Preparation:
You are required to fast (eat nothing) after 10:00 p.m.the night before your procedure. If you have to take medications, it is OK to do so, but with only a sip of water.
Upon arrival to the radiology department, you will change into a gown and robe provided by the hospital.  You are required to remove all clothing and jewelry overlying the area of the chest and upper abdomen.  You may keep your under pants on.  Your privacy and comfort will be maintained at all times.

**Note:  If you are a woman of childbearing age, the technologist will ask if there is any possibility of pregnancy prior to the start of the procedure.

During the procedure:
A doctor of radiology (radiologist) and registered technologist(s) will perform the procedure.  Please feel free to ask any questions at any time during your procedure.
A technologist will go over some medical history and your medication list with you prior to the procedure.  She/he will explain to you what your procedure requires.  You will be positioned on a flat table and an x-ray of your abdomen will be taken.  The technologist will show the x-ray to the radiologist.

The technologist will stand the table in the upright position where you will stand on a very narrow footboard.  It is attached to a fluoroscope, an x-ray unit that works with a television/computer screen.  The doctor will enter the room introduce him/herself and begin the procedure.  He/she will provide step by step instructions on how much and when to drink while positioning you in front of the fluoroscopy camera.

You may be asked to swallow "fizzy" granules and a small amount of water to fill your esophagus and stomach with gas/air. This expands your esophagus and stomach to help visualize all sides of your organs. Please hold the urge to burp!

The doctor will give you several types of liquid barium sulfate to drink.  Barium is a harmless substance that will highlight your esophagus, stomach and/or part of your small intestines by absorbing x-ray.  The taste is chalky and it feels very heavy both in the cup and in your stomach.  If you feel uncomfortable during the procedure, tell the radiologist!

The doctor will instruct you on exactly what to do while she/he is taking images.  You may be required to swallow a barium pill to evaluate any narrowing of your esophagus.

Next, the doctor will tilt the table until you are lying flat. She/he will ask you to roll over to your stomach and turn side to side to allowing the barium to coat all aspects of the esophagus and stomach.  She/He may have you drink more barium while you are lying down continuing to take images as you do so.

Once the fluoroscopic portion of the procedure is complete, the technologist will provide discharge instructions in both verbal and in written form.  Then you will be escorted to the changing room to get dressed and then out of the department through reception.

Post-procedure Information:
The radiologist (doctor) will read the images and dictate a report.  Your physician will receive a report of the findings within 3 business days and should advise you of the results.

***Important: ***  Drink plenty of water (8-10 cups/day) for a few days following the procedure to avoid constipation and blockage. The barium will make your stools white for a few days.


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Wentworth-Douglass Hospital
789 Central Avenue, Dover, NH 03820
Phone: (603) 742-5252
Toll free: 1 (877) 201-7100