What is an Upper GI Series used for

What is an Upper GI Series used for?
What is an Upper GI Series used for?

What is Upper Gastrointestinal (GI) Series

The upper gastrointestinal (GI) series, also known as a barium swallow, is a diagnostic procedure used to detect issues in the upper GI tract using X-rays and fluoroscopy. X-rays create images using radiation, which are recorded on film or digitally. Fluoroscopy involves real-time X-ray imaging that allows examination of internal organs and their movement.

To enhance visibility of the GI tract on X-ray films, the patient’s upper GI tract is filled with a chalky liquid called barium.

There are two main types of GI series:

  •  Standard Barium Upper GI Series: Barium alone is used during the test to visualize the GI tract.
    Double-Contrast Upper GI Series: A combination of air and barium is used to create a clearer picture of the stomach lining.

Both types of GI series provide valuable information about the structure and function of the upper GI tract, aiding in the diagnosis of various conditions such as ulcers, tumors, and abnormalities in swallowing or digestion.


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.


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.