Fluoroscopy can be thought of as an x-ray movie. During this test, the radiologist watches barium in different parts of the digestive track and takes a series of still pictures.
For a barium swallow, upper GI and small bowel follow-through, the patient drinks a flavored, barium liquid which allows the radiologist to see the inside of the esophagus (food pipe), stomach and small bowel (intestine). Frequently, the patient will also have to drink a seltzer which distends the esophagus and stomach.
For a barium enema, a tube is inserted into the rectum through which barium liquid is administered to fill the colon. This is frequently followed by the administration of air. This test allows the radiologist to see the inside of the colon.
An IVP is a special type of x-ray that looks at the kidneys, ureters (tubes which transport urine from the kidneys to the bladder) and bladder. A contrast injection into a vein is required. This contrast is the same as that used for CT (CAT) scans. After the contrast is injected, the technologist will take a series of x-rays which are reviewed and interpreted by a radiologist. An appointment is necessary for an IVP.
For more information about general radiology at The Miriam Hospital, call 401-793-4522 or e-mail LPangalos@lifespan.org.