Upper Gastrointestinal (GI) Tract X-ray

Upper GI XrayAn Upper gastrointestinal tract X-ray takes pictures of the pharynx, esophagus, stomach and first part of the small intestine (also known as the duodenum) and uses a special type of X-ray called fluoroscopy and an orally ingested contrast material called barium.

Fluoroscopy makes it possible to see internal organs in motion. When the upper GI tract is coated with barium, the radiologist is able to view and assess the anatomy and function of the esophagus, stomach and duodenum.

An x-ray examination that evaluates only the pharynx and esophagus is called a barium swallow.

In addition to drinking barium, some patients also are given baking-soda crystals (similar to Alka-Seltzer) to further improve the images. This procedure is called an air-contrast or double-contrast upper GI.