Upper GI (Gastrointestinal) Study

What is an Upper GI and what does it do?

An upper gastrointestinal series is a barium study evaluating the esophagus, stomach, and first part of the small intestine. This test is ordered to search for causes of nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, or weight loss, to name a few. It is performed much the same way as the barium esophagram, except additional time is required to take pictures as the barium travels further in the intestinal tract.

Who performs the test?

The examination is performed by a doctor specially trained in Radiology (Radiologist) and a licensed Radiologic Technologist RT (R).

Where does it take place?

At Jackson Hospital in the Radiology Department.

How long does it take?

The average person takes 15–30 minutes.

What can I do to make it success?

  • Wear comfortable, easy to remove clothing.
  • Follow all preparation instructions given to you by your physician’s office. If you have any questions, please call us for clarification. We want your exam to be as successful as possible.

What should I do before the exam?

  • Take nothing by mouth 8 hours prior to your exam. You may take your medications with minimal amount water.
  • If you are a woman of childbearing age and there is a chance you may be pregnant, please consult your physician before scheduling this exam.

What happens during the exam?

  • You will be asked to dress in a patient gown.
  • You will be given a small cup of carbonated water and a cup of liquid barium to drink while the radiologist observes under fluoroscopy and takes images of your esophagus, stomach and duodenum.
  • You will be positioned for your exam based on the area of the body to be x-rayed. This could be standing, sitting or lying down in various positions on the exam table.
  • Most exams require multiple views or positions of the body part for adequate evaluation.

What should I do after the exam?

  • You will be given discharge instructions requesting that a mild laxative be taken after the study.
  • After the examination, your stool will be lightly colored from the barium for 24 to 72 hours. It is important to remove the barium from the large intestine. If the barium is not removed, it may harden and block the intestine. Drink 6 to 8 glasses (soda pop can size) of liquid after the test to help get rid of the barium. This will also help to keep you from being constipated or dehydrated.
  • Colostomy (ko-loss-tuh-mee): If you have a colostomy, irrigate it after the last x-ray is taken and again the following morning.

Contact Information:

Hospital (main operator): (850) 526-2200
Radiology Department: (850) 718-2580

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