What is a G.I. Series?
An Upper G.I. (gastrointestinal tract) series is an examination of the stomach, esophagus, and sometimes the small bowel/intestines using fluoroscopy, a type of X-ray that makes it makes it possible to observe the function of internal structures. An upper G.I. series requires that you drink a liquid called barium for visualization of structures of the gastrointestinal) tract.
How do I prepare for this exam?
You are to have nothing to eat or drink after midnight prior to your exam. Also, do not eat or drink anything the morning of your exam. If your stomach is not empty, the results of the study will not be satisfactory or the study may be canceled.
Essential medication (pills) that you routinely take at home may be taken with a sip of water. If you are diabetic, please consult your doctor before taking any diabetes medication either by mouth or injection the morning of the exam.
What will the exam be like?
You will change into a hospital gown and a preliminary film of your abdomen will be taken to make sure that you are properly prepared for the exam. You will need to remove all metal objects or clothing that might interfere with the X-ray images.
You will be taken to an X-ray room by a technologist. When the radiologist arrives, you will be asked to drink the barium. The barium fills your stomach and small bowel so they can be seen on X-rays. The radiologist will watch this on a special screen. You will likely be asked to change positions on the x-ray table for best evaluation of internal structures from several angles. A radiology technologist will assist you in these maneuvers. Films will be taken periodically throughout the procedure.
You will be in constant view by the technologist who sits behind a leaded glass window. The room has an intercom system so that you can communicate with the technologist and radiologist as needed.
How will I learn the results?
Results are usually available in 3-4 days. Contact your physician who ordered the scan to discuss the results. The report describing the findings will automatically be sent to the ordering physician. If you would like a copy of this report, either ask your physician or contact the Radiology View Room in the Main Hospital at (310) 517-4677.
After the exam
You may eat as soon as the exam is over. You should drink plenty of fluids to avoid constipation from the barium.
- Tell your doctor, technologist or nurse if you are pregnant or think you might be.
- Tell your doctor, technologist or nurse if you have any allergies.