An Upper GI and/or Small Bowel Series is a set of images taken to examine the esophagus, stomach, and small intestine. Images are acquired after the patient has swallowed a barium suspension (contrast medium).
 
Patient Information
You will be sitting or standing up while your heart, lungs, and abdomen are examined with a fluoroscope (real-time images that projects images onto a TV-like screen. You may be given an injection of a medication that will temporarily slow bowel movement, so structures can be more easily seen with the fluoroscope. You will then be given a milk shake type drink that contains a barium mixture in it. You must drink 16 oz to 20 oz. for the examination.

The passage of the barium through the esophagus, stomach, and small intestine is monitored on the fluoroscope. Pictures are taken with you in a variety of positions (laying down, standing, sitting.) The test usually takes around three hours. However, in some cases, it may take up to six hours to complete.
 
Before the Procedure
 
Adults:

Day before exam:
Do not eat or drink anything after midnight before the exam

Day of exam:
Do not eat breakfast or have any liquids. If you are or think you may be pregnant, please notify the technologist.
      
If you have had a barium enema or CT scan of the abdomen and/or pelvis within 72 hours prior to your exam please follow these instructions:
 
Day before exam:
At 3 p.m. drink 1 bottle of magnesium citrate (available at any pharmacy). This may be omitted only if directed by referring physician. If you are or think you may be pregnant, please notify the technologist.