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Nipigon District Memorial Hospital


Gastrointestinal (GI) Series

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Instructions for Preparation


Your physician has requested that you have a gastrointestinal series or a GI series.  This is an x-ray examination of your esophagus, the passage from the mouth to the stomach, the stomcah and duodenum.


In order to do the examination, it is essential that you complete the following preparation which begins the day before the examination.  Patients with diabetes or allergies should consult their physician for possible changes in the preparation process. 

  1. You may have a normal supper the evening prior to the examination but you must not eat or drink anything after 10:00 pm, and until the examination has been completed.
  2. Do not take any medications the morning of the examination.
  3. Do not swallow water when brushing your teeth the morning of the examination.
  4. Do not wear a necklace, neck chain or ear rings to the examination.
  5. When you arrive for the examination, it is e xtremely important that you notify the technologist of any allergies or of the possibility of pregnancy.

When you arrive at the Diagnostic Imaging Department,

  1. You will be instructed to swallow carbon dioxide crystals to produce gas, and you will be asked not to burp.
  2. The x-ray technologist will ask you to swallow a white chalk tasting mixture of barium sulphate and water during the test.
  3. The technologist will have you move into different positions.
  4. When images are being captured, you will be asked to hold your breath and the technologist will let you know if delayed pictures are required.

If your physician has also ordered a small bowel follow through, you will be asked to drink more barium.  This will require images to be taken after extended periods of time to evaluate your small bowel.  This process varies from patient to patient but can take from 1 to     1 1/2 hours up to 6 hours.  During this time, you may leave the department and return as arranged with the technologist.

After the procedure,

The technologist will let you know when the examinatin has been completed.  It is recommended that you increase your water and cleare fluid intake over the next few days as the barium can be constipating.  Your physician may want you to take a laxative if you experience constipation.  Bowel movements will be lighter in color for a short time after the e xamination as the barium drank during the procedure is absorbed in the stool.

Please remember that this procedure is a schedule appointment time that has been set aside for you. If you are unable to make the appoinbtment, please notify the department as soon as possible.

Please note that the technologist is not permitted to provide any interpretation of the examination or pictures of the examination.