Upper Gastrointestinal (UGI) Series
How To Prepare
Tell your doctor if you:
- Are taking any medicine.
allergic to any medicines, barium, or any other X-ray contrast
- Are or might be pregnant. This test is not done during
pregnancy because of the risk of radiation to the developing baby (fetus).
You may be asked to eat a low-fiber diet for 2 or 3 days
before the test. You may also be asked to stop eating for 12 hours before the
test. Your doctor will tell you if you need to stop taking certain medicines
before the test.
The evening before the test, you may be asked to
take a laxative to help clean out your intestines. If your stomach cannot empty
well on its own, you may have a special tube put through your nose and down
into your stomach just before the test begins. A gentle suction on the tube
will drain the stomach contents.
If you are having the small bowel
follow-through after the UGI series, you will need to wait between X-rays. The
entire small bowel follow-through exam takes up to 6 hours, so bring along a
book to read or some other quiet activity.
You may be asked to
sign a consent form. Talk to your doctor about any concerns you have regarding
the need for the test, its risks, how it will be done, or what the results will
mean. To help you understand the importance of this test, fill out the
medical test information form(What is a PDF document?).
How It Is Done
A UGI series is usually done in a clinic or the X-ray department of a hospital. You do not need to
stay overnight in the hospital. The test is done by a
radiologist and a radiology technologist.
You will need to take off your clothes and put on a hospital gown. You
will need to take out any dentures and take off any jewelry. You may not smoke
or chew gum during the test, since the stomach will respond by making more
gastric juices and this will slow the movement of the barium through the
You will lie on your back on an X-ray table. The table
is tilted to bring you to an upright position with the X-ray machine in front
of you. Straps may be used to keep you safely on the table. The technologist
will make sure you are comfortable during changes in table position.
You will have one X-ray taken before you drink the barium mix. Then you
will take small swallows repeatedly during the series of X-rays that follow.
The radiologist will tell you when and how much to drink. By the end of the
test, you may have swallowed
1 cup (237 mL) to
2.5 cup (592 mL) of the barium
mixture. See a picture of a
barium swallow test .