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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.
Miller-Keane Encyclopedia and Dictionary of Medicine, Nursing, and Allied Health, Seventh Edition. © 2003 by Saunders, an imprint of Elsevier, Inc. All rights reserved.

bar·i·um (Ba),

(ba'rē-ŭm, bā'rē-ŭm),
A metallic, alkaline, divalent earth element; atomic no. 56, atomic wt. 137.327. Its insoluble salts are often used in radiology as contrast media.
[G. barys, heavy]
Farlex Partner Medical Dictionary © Farlex 2012


(bâr′ē-əm, băr′-)
1. Symbol Ba A soft, silvery-white or yellowish-white alkaline-earth metal, used to deoxidize copper and to absorb trace gases in vacuum tubes, and used in various alloys. Atomic number 56; atomic weight 137.33; melting point 727°C; boiling point 1,897°C; specific gravity 3.62; valence 2. See Periodic Table.
2. A radiopaque solution containing barium sulfate that is used to visualize the gastrointestinal tract on x-rays.

bar′ic (-ĭk) adj.
The American Heritage® Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2007, 2004 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.


A silver-white alkaline earth-metallic element—atomic number 56, atomic weight 137.3—which melts at 727ºC. Pure barium does not exist in nature as it is oxidised, often as baryta.

Barium is the core constituent in non-radioactive radiocontrast studies (e.g., barium enema, barium swallow), and formulated as a chalky liquid, popularly, a milkshake.
Segen's Medical Dictionary. © 2012 Farlex, Inc. All rights reserved.


(Ba) (bar'ē-ŭm)
A metallic, alkaline, divalent earth element; atomic no. 56, atomic wt. 137.327. Salts are often used in diagnostic x-rays.
[G. barys, heavy]
Medical Dictionary for the Health Professions and Nursing © Farlex 2012


A chemical used in certain radiological studies to enhance visualization of anatomical structures.
Mentioned in: Intussusception
Gale Encyclopedia of Medicine. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


A metallic, alkaline, divalent earth element. Its insoluble salts are often used in radiology.
[G. barys, heavy]
Medical Dictionary for the Dental Professions © Farlex 2012
References in periodicals archive ?
Eating or drinking very large amounts of barium compounds that easily dissolve can cause changes in heart rhythm or paralysis and possibly death.
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) has set Recommended Exposure Limits (RELs) of 0.5 mg/[m.sup.3] for soluble barium compounds. The NIOSH has set RELs of 10 mg/[m.sup.3] (total dust) for barium sulfate and 5 mg/[m.sup.3] (respirable fraction).