Dysphagia is a delayed symptom of esophageal constriction and often appears after the luminal diameter is reduced to less than 10 mm. Earlier diagnosis of benign or malignant strictures while clinically silent would be desirable; hence we investigated the detectability of occult esophageal lesions with the aid of an ingested barium tablet during routine chest radiography. We prospectively examined 300 patients older than 40 years, who were referred for chest films because of indications unrelated to the upper gastrointestinal tract. Each patient was instructed to swallow a 12.5-mm barium tablet with 100 mL of water immediately prior to the exposure of posteroanterior and lateral chest films. Radiographs of 17 patients (5.6%) revealed intraesophageal retention of the tablet, and their prompt evaluation with double-contrast esophagrams confirmed various structural or functional abnormalities in 15 patients. Therefore, the oral administration of a barium tablet during routine chest radiography is a simple efficacious method to assess esophageal patency and detect occult narrowings from structural or functional causes.
- Barium tablet application
- Chest radiography
- Esophageal stricture
- Occult lesions of the esophagus
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging