What is an Upper GI Series used for?

By  ,  Onlymyhealth editorial team
Jun 30, 2014

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Quick Bites

  • An upper GI series is used to diagnose problems in upper GI tract.
  • X rays and fluoroscopy are used to create a film of the organs.
  • There are two kinds of upper GI series.
  • Upper GI series is used to detect cause of various problems in the body.

What is Upper Gastrointestinal (GI) Series?

Upper GI series also known as barium swallow is used to detect problems in the upper GI tract with the use of x rays and fluoroscopy. Using x rays a picture is created with help of radiation and a film is recorded on film or on a computer. By using fluoroscopy, an x ray film is created which makes it possible to examine the internal organs and their motion.
In order to make the GI tract properly visible in the x ray film, the patient’s upper GI tract is filled chalky liquid known as barium.

Upper GI Series

The GI series can be broadly classified into two types:

  • A standard barium upper GI series in which barium is used only during the test
  • A double-contrast upper GI series in which a combination of air and barium is used to have a clearer picture of the stomach lining.


Why is it Performed?

The upper GI series is performed in order to detect the reason behind:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Problems with swallowing
  • Weight loss without any reason
  • Besides these, upper GI series is also used to show:
  • Abnormal growth
  • Esophageal varices
  • Gastrophageal reflux
  • Hiatal hernia
  • Inflammation or selling of the GI tract
  • Ulcers.

Upper GI Series


How to Prepare?

A person can prepare for an upper GI series by consulting a health care provider and by clearing the upper HI tract.

Image courtesy: Getty Imges

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