Upper GI

What: This is a diagnostic study that uses X-rays of the esophagus, stomach and duodenum (first part of the small bowel) with barium, air or both.

What to expect: Plan to spend 30 minutes for this study. You will begin in a standing position and asked to drink carbonation crystals. As the examination progresses, you will be asked to drink barium in different positions standing and laying down on the x-ray table. The Radiologist’s Assistant will watch you swallow the barium and will take images as it travels to your stomach.

During the process, you may be asked to turn from side to side, roll over, hold your breath, and hold different positions. This enables the Radiologist’s Assistant to capture views from several angles. For the small bowel examination, the Radiologist’s Assistant will take a series of X-rays at 20-minute intervals until the barium has moved through the small intestine.


  • Have nothing to eat, drink or smoke after midnight.
  • Patients under five years of age should have nothing to eat or drink four hours prior to exam.
  • Bring prescribed medications with you the day of your study to take after the exam.