What: The esophagram test is ordered to assess a patient who has difficulty swallowing, has nausea and vomiting, abdominal pain and weight loss. This test may show narrowing or irritation of the esophagus, blockages, hiatal hernia (a defect where the upper portion of the stomach slides through the diaphragm), abnormally enlarged veins that may cause bleeding in the esophagus, ulcers, polyps (non-cancerous growths), or tumors.

What to expect: During your study, you will be asked to drink carbonation crystals, then barium, to help the radiologist visualize the lining of your esophagus. This study typically takes 30 minutes.


  • Do not eat, drink or smoke after midnight on the day prior to your study.
  • Bring medications with you to take after your study.
  • For patients under five years of age, do not eat or drink for four hours prior to the exam.