barium sulfate

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 (Ba) [bar´e-um]
a chemical element, atomic number 56, atomic weight 137.34. (See Appendix 6.) Ingestion of excessive amounts can be toxic, occasionally resulting in fatal hypokalemia and paralysis.
barium sulfate a water-insoluble salt used as an opaque contrast medium for x-ray examination of the digestive tract.
barium test x-ray examination using a barium mixture to help locate disorders in the esophagus, stomach, duodenum, and small and large intestines. Such conditions as peptic ulcer, benign or malignant tumors, colitis, or enlargement of organs that might be causing pressure on the stomach may be readily identified with the use of barium tests. If perforation exists or is suspected, the barium test should not be administered. It is important to evacuate the barium completely following the study; a mild laxative is usually prescribed for this purpose.

Barium sulfate is a harmless chalky, water-insoluble compound that does not permit x-rays to pass through it. Taken before or during an examination, it causes the intestinal tract to stand out in silhouette when viewed through a fluoroscope or seen on an x-ray film.

Two main types of tests are conducted with the use of barium: the barium meal or barium swallow, for radiologic examination of the upper gastrointestinal tract, and the barium enema for examination of the lower gastrointestinal tract.
Barium test: Barium meal and follow-through. Normal stomach and small bowel. From Aspinall and Taylor-Robinson, 2001.

bar·i·um sul·fate

given as a suspension orally, rectally, or through a tube, for radiographic demonstration of a part of the gastrointestinal tract. See: enteroclysis, barium enema.
See also: barium meal.

barium sulfate

a radiopaque medium used as a diagnostic aid in radiology.
indication It is prescribed for x-ray examination of the GI tract.
contraindication Known hypersensitivity to this drug prohibits its use.
adverse effects Among the more serious complications is severe constipation.

Barium sulfate

A barium compound used during a barium enema to block the passage of x rays during the exam.
Mentioned in: Barium Enema


a chemical element, atomic number 56, atomic weight 137.34, symbol Ba. See Table 6. Soluble salts, e.g. the chloride and the carbonate, are toxic.

barium burger, barium meal
a mixture of barium and solid food, used as a contrast medium in radiographic studies of the esophagus, instead of liquid barium mixtures.
barium chloride
used as a rodenticide. The baits are attractive to dogs. Clinical signs include salivation, convulsions and paralysis.
barium deficiency
preliminary experiments showing that diets deficient in barium fed to rats and guinea pigs depress growth have been neither invalidated nor confirmed.
barium enema
a dilute (5 to 20%) suspension of barium is introduced into a colon that has been emptied by starvation and previous enema.
Enlarge picture
Barium enema. By permission from Ettinger SJ, Feldman E, Textbook of Veterinary Internal Medicine, Saunders, 2004
barium-impregnated polyethylene spheres (BIPS)
radio-opaque markers used to demonstrate intestinal obstruction and motility disorders; the spheres are given orally and their movement can be tracked radiographically.
barium meal
a strong (usually 100%) suspension of barium sulfate is administered to an animal which has been starved for at least 12 hours.
barium study
x-ray examination using a barium mixture to help locate disorders in the esophagus, stomach, duodenum, and the small and large intestines. Called also barium test.
barium sulfate
a water-insoluble salt used as an opaque contrast medium for x-ray examination of the digestive tract.
barium swallow
a small amount of barium paste or liquid administered orally and observed radiographically or by fluoroscopy for examination of swallowing and esophageal function.
barium test
barium study.
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