Table of contents:
The esophagogram is an imaging test that aims to evaluate the esophagus and pharynx, which is done through the use of a contrast agent, which allows visualizing the structure of the organ, its size and functioning, which helps to identify changes in the esophagus, such as esophageal varices, esophageal reflux and anatomical changes, for example.
The esophagogram should be done under absolute fasting conditions, that is, during fasting hours it is not allowed to eat and drink, even if it is water. Fasting time may vary according to age, and it is recommended that from 4 years of age, fasting is 6 hours.
This test is not indicated for pregnant women or women with suspected pregnancy, nor for people who are allergic to contrast.
What is it for
The esophagogram is used to evaluate the esophagus and pharynx, being useful to verify the size of the organ, its structure and the presence of digestive alterations, such as:
- Esophageal varices;
- Anatomical changes;
- Esophageal reflux;
- Changes related to the swallowing process;
- Presence of a foreign body in the pharynx and/or esophagus.
Thus, after the examination, the doctor can make the diagnosis and, thus, indicate the most appropriate treatment, if necessary.
How to prepare
Preparing for the esophagogram involves fasting, the time of which may vary according to the person's age. Fasting is absolute, that is, consumption of water during this period is not recommended.
In the case of children up to 1 year, it is recommended that the fast is 3 hours, while for children from 1 to 4 years the absolute fast is 4 hours. From 4 years of age, absolute fasting must be 6 hours.
It is important that on the day of the esophagogram, the person takes all exams related to the digestive and gastrointestinal system, if any.
How the esophagogram is done
To perform the esophagogram, it is recommended that the person drinks a liquid that contains the radiopaque contrast agent, barium, which allows the visualization of the esophagus through X-ray exposure. Thus, after ingesting the contrast, several X-ray images are taken so that it is possible to observe the functioning of the organ and its structure.
After the examination, the person can return to their normal routine, and it is recommended to drink plenty of water to favor the elimination of the contrast by the body.
When not indicated
Since it is an exam in which contrast is used, this exam is not indicated for pregnant women or women with suspected pregnancy. In the case of lactating women, before carrying out the examination, it is recommended to collect the milk with a pump, which must be stored in a thermal container and taken to the laboratory so that the baby can be breastfed during the period of the examination.
The exam is also not recommended for people who are allergic to contrast.