Patients should take nothing by the mouth after midnight the night before the esophagram procedure, according to Associated Radiologists. If patients must take medications by mouth, they may take them with a small amount of water.Continue Reading
Patients should not chew gum or smoke cigarettes after midnight before the esophagram, explains Cedars-Sinai. In contrast to Associated Radiologists, Cedars-Sinai only recommends that patients abstain from eating or drinking four hours before the esophagram.
Esophagrams are sometimes called barium swallows, reports Cedars-Sinai, as the test involves swallowing barium so the imaging physician can take certain types of images. During the first part of the exam, the patient stands while drinking barium, and the imaging physician watches using a device that takes continuous X-ray images that display on a screen as the fluid flows down the throat and into the stomach. The physician then asks the patient to move to different positions while taking more pictures. The second part of the exam is similar to the first, except patients drink the barium while lying on their stomachs.
Patients should drink plenty of water in the 24 to 48 hours after the exam, according to Cedars-Sinai. The barium might cause the patient's stool to look white, and physicians can prescribe mild laxatives if the patient experiences constipation due to the examination.Learn more about Gastrointestinal Issues