barium sulfate

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barium

 (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 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.
Farlex Partner Medical Dictionary © Farlex 2012

Barium sulfate

A barium compound used during a barium enema to block the passage of x rays during the exam.
Mentioned in: Barium Enema
Gale Encyclopedia of Medicine. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.