Posts tagged ‘stomach’

July 9, 2014

Barium: Great for Imaging, and Okay for Puns

Bariumsulfaat by Dr.T via Wikimedia Commons Copyright Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 UnportedImaging of the gastrointestinal system can be done many ways, using scopes, fluoroscopy/x-rays, ultrasound, CT and MRI studies. The gastrointestinal (GI) system includes everything from the mouth or oral cavity and esophagus down to the rectum and anus. The GI tract can be thought of as one long hollow tube, and filling the tube with fluid to image it with xrays was one of the earliest techniques developed when radiology was in its infancy.


This technique is still used today with barium sulfate the most commonly used contrast agent. Barium blocks the xrays from travelling through the body resulting in a white appearance on the image. Since its first development, many different forms of barium are now available allowing us to see different parts of the GI tract in detail.


Barium studies include UGIs (upper gastrointestinal exam to evaluate the esophagus, stomach and the first part of the small bowel), esophagrams (to image the esophagus), small bowel series (to image the small intestine) and barium enemas (to evaluate the colon or large intestine). Barium or other oral contrast agents may be used for CT examinations of the abdomen and pelvis, allowing better visualization of the GI tract. Over the next few posts we’ll be covering these imaging tests in detail.


Barium has been used for years and is inert, traveling through your system without being absorbed. It is well tolerated in almost all patients. After a study using barium, patients are advised to drink extra fluids in order to flush the barium out of their system.


Oh, and we promised a groaner of a pun too. What do you do with a chemist who has passed on? Barium!

(Image credit: Bariumsulfaat by Dr.T via Wikimedia Commons Copyright Creative CommonsAttribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported)


Diagnostic Imaging Centers blogs on regularly about women’s health and general radiology Visit our sites for more helpful information!


April 29, 2014

Case Study: Pyloric Stenosis or “Why Babies Get Ultrasounds”

pyloric stenosis

pyloric stenosis

We don’t like to expose infants to radiation, however sometimes we need to take a look inside. (Cue celebratory music…) This is why ultrasound is so fabulous! It’s real-time, harmless, noninvasive, short-lived and highly helpful.


Today’s case study covers an instance of an 8-week-old male infant with pyloric stenosis. Classically this disorder occurs at 2-8 weeks of age in male infants. The disorder is most common in Caucasian males and can run in families. The infants present with forceful projectile vomiting that can get progressively worse. Poor weight gain often results. Such was the case with this little one.


Today, we use ultrasound to image kids that are suspected of having pyloric stenosis (back in the old days we made the diagnosis with an upper GI exam done with fluoroscopy and X-rays – no longer necessary for the majority).  With ultrasound we use a probe gently placed on the baby’s abdomen to image the pylorus, a muscle which sits at the connection between the stomach and the small intestine. Ultrasound allows us to see the overdeveloped muscle that causes blockage between the stomach and the small intestine, impeding the progress of milk out of the stomach – vomiting and weight loss follow!


This condition is highly treatable after the diagnosis is made. Most often, simple surgery to open the muscle is used to put an infant back on track to weight gain and health. Here’s one more example of how ultrasound has impacted little lives. We love to image soundly!

Diagnostic Imaging Centers blogs on regularly about women’s health and general radiology Visit our sites for more helpful information!