Upper GI Series Preparation, Safety Tips & Side Effects

An Upper Gastrointestinal (GI) is an x-ray examination of the pharynx, esophagus, stomach and first part of the small intestine (also known as the duodenum) that uses a special form of x-ray called fluoroscopy and a contrast material called barium.

Patient Safety Tips Prior to a Diagnostic Exam in Radiology

  • Please let us know if you have any allergies or adverse reactions to medications.
  • If you are pregnant or may be pregnant, please tell your doctor or technologist.
  • Please leave your valuables at home or in your room in the hospital.
  • Please let us now if you need interpreting services, this can be arranged for you.

Preparation for the Exam

  • On the day preceding the exam, do not eat any solid foods.
  • Remove all metallic items from area to be examined.
  • Please arrive 15 minutes before the scheduled exam time.

During the Exam

  • The technologist will verify your identification and exam requested.
  • You will have the opportunity to ask the technologists questions.
  • There will be an opportunity for you to talk with the radiologist about the plan for the procedure and give your consent.
  • You may be asked to drink a carbonated drink, made of baking-soda crystals to expand your stomach.
  • You will be asked to drink a thick, chalky barium contrast agent.
  • The duration of the exam will vary, but the average is about 30 minutes.
  • The technologist will position you on the exam table, and give you instructions.

After the Exam

  • The barium will make your stools white for a few days.
  • If you are going home, you may resume normal activities.
  • Drink plenty of fluids in the days following the exam.
  • If you experience constipation after the exam, tell your doctor