When a patient complains of abdominal pain or dysfunction of the gastrointestinal tract, the doctor may order an x-ray. Including the structural features of the abdominal organs, this method is not the most informative. To obtain a clear image, a special contrast agent is introduced.
As a contrast agent, which fill all cavities, barium sulphate is used. This powder is poorly soluble in water and is resistant to acids and alkalis, while it has the ability to reflect X-rays. Since barium is not absorbed by the intestinal walls, the possibility of its entry into the blood occurs only in the case of open ulcers and other integrity damage. From the body the substance is excreted in the feces.
The essence of this diagnostic method is based on the passage of the permissible radiation dose through the abdominal cavity. When X-rays pass through a cavity filled with contrast, a fairly clear picture is obtained, on the basis of which a specialist can identify all pathologies and establish the correct diagnosis.
Despite the fact that during the study the patient is exposed to radiation, radiography of the abdominal cavity with barium is actively used in modern medicine. Firstly, the dose of radiation is insignificant and does not exceed the established daily allowance. Secondly, the procedure does not take much time and does not bring discomfort to the patient. And thirdly, X-ray with a contrast agent is an inexpensive and informative research method.
Modern equipment used for the procedure of radiography, makes it possible to strictly regulate the activity of radiation. Due to this, neighboring organs are practically not affected by radiation.
What will abdominal radiography with barium show?
An x-ray of the abdominal cavity using a contrast agent makes it possible to obtain a clear image of the gastrointestinal tract. After examining the picture, the doctor can see the pathology of the mucous membranes, the presence of tumors, the formation of perforations, the change in the width of the lumen in the intestines, the elasticity of the intestinal walls, motor function, the presence of foreign bodies in the intestine, the accumulation of fluids.
Radiography can be planned - when making a diagnosis to a patient who has consulted a doctor with complaints of pain in the abdominal cavity. It can also be an emergency - if the patient is admitted with abdominal injuries or acute pain, or suspected of internal bleeding.
The decoding of the obtained image is performed by a specialist radiologist. He issues a conclusion on the basis of which the attending physician can determine the cause of pain and discomfort.
Indications for radiography
Radiography of the abdominal cavity with barium allows a detailed study of the state of the intestines, see parts of the small and large intestines, appendix, gall bladder. In most cases, x-rays are used for diagnostic purposes or to monitor the effectiveness of therapy.
Phenomena and symptoms in which the patient is shown an x-ray of the abdominal cavity with a contrast agent:
- chronic diarrhea or persistent constipation;
- the presence of blood in the feces;
- suspected internal bleeding;
- sudden weight loss;
- pathological discoloration and consistency of feces;
- chronic or acute abdominal and lower back pains;
- suspected internal organ damage;
- abdominal trauma;
- retroperitoneal abscess;
- intestinal obstruction.
In most cases, radiography using a contrast agent is preceded by a normal x-ray. This is done with the aim of convincing that there are no internal injuries through which barium can enter the blood.
Preparation for the study
The accuracy of the result depends on compliance with all the rules of preparation for radiography with the use of a contrast agent. During the planned procedure, the patient is shown a special slag-free diet - 3 days before the study. Additionally, the doctor prescribes drugs with a laxative effect and paints a schedule for their administration. Two days before X-rays with barium, it is necessary to exclude from the diet alcoholic beverages, coffee and tea, it is desirable to completely stop smoking. In the last 24 hours before diagnostics, one should not eat solid food - it is allowed to drink broths, herbal teas, non-carbonated water.
During the preparation period, medication is not recommended. If a complete rejection of medication is impossible, it is worthwhile to drink every dose of medicine with plenty of water.
Immediately before the procedure, the patient needs to change into suitable clothes - his or her hospital clothes. It is also worth removing all metal objects, including removable dentures.
Features of the procedure
Since the procedure is carried out only on an empty stomach, it is usually prescribed for the morning time. If the decoding of the image does not reveal the reasons for urgent hospitalization, immediately after the examination, the patient can go home.
Barium sulfate in the form of a powder is mixed with water and injected into the gastrointestinal tract through a probe. Another way of introducing a contrast agent into the intestine is through the rectum through a thin tube that is inserted through the anus. The procedure of introducing contrast is painless, although it may be accompanied by some discomfort. If the introduction of barium causes acute pain or other discomfort, you should inform the specialist who performs the procedure.
At the time of taking the pictures, the patient must hold his breath and remain motionless. The procedure itself takes 1-5 minutes - during this time a series of shots are taken, on the basis of which the conclusion is written.
Contraindications and restrictions
Radiography of the abdominal cavity with a contrast agent is not assigned to pregnant women. With the urgent need to use just such a diagnostic method, barium can be replaced by another type of contrast. The same restriction applies to children under 14 years of age.
If you suspect or identify perforations of the intestinal walls, the introduction of contrast can lead to its rapid penetration into the blood, which can cause intoxication of the body. For internal injuries, other types of research are used.
An abdominal x-ray using a contrast agent is contraindicated in patients who have recently undergone intestinal biopsies.
Limitations on body weight - the maximum patient weight is 100 kg.