What is the test?
- A barium swallow, or upper GI series, is an x-ray test used
to examine the upper digestive tract (the esophagus, stomach,
and small intestine). Because these organs are normally not visible
on x-rays, you need to swallow barium, a liquid that does show
up on x-rays. The barium temporarily coats the lining of the
esophagus, stomach, and intestine, making the outline of these
organs visible on the xray pictures. This test is useful for
diagnosing cancers, ulcers, problems that cause narrowing of
the esophagus, some causes of inflammation in the intestine,
and some swallowing problems.