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GIT (Gastrointestinal Tract)
These are dynamic studies to evaluate the oesophagus, stomach, duodenum, small bowel and the large bowel. Both structure and function is thus evaluated.

Use is made of oral contrast material which is usually Barium. Occasionally water-soluble oral contrast agents are used such as Hexabrix or Gastrograffin are used. This is if there is a suspected abnormal connection between the oesophagus and the airway or if there is a chance of aspiration.

Fluoroscopy is used to obtain multiple images which can be reviewed. Due to the use of x-rays, female patients must make sure they are not pregnant.

Swallowing is one of the most complex neuromuscular functions of the body. It involves co-ordination of the mouth, pharynx, larynx and the oesophagus. 3 phases are involved during swallowing – the oral phase, pharyngeal phase and oesophageal phase. The oral phase is voluntary and controlled by the cortex. This phase prepares the bolus of food so that it is swallowable. The pharyngeal phase is involuntary and triggered by the bolus of food contacting the tonsillar pillars and the pharyngeal wall. It involves the high cortical centres, the brain stem centres and cranial nerves V (trigeminal), VII (facial), IX (glossopharyngeal), XI (vagus) and XII (hypoglossal). The oesophageal phase is controlled by the brainstem and myenteric plexus. Food moves down by a peristaltic wave beginning in the pharynx and ending at the lower oesophageal sphincter.

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Indications:
  • Drooling
  • Choking
  • Nasal regurgitation
  • Voice change
  • Recurrent pneumonia
  • Unexplained weight loss
This contrast study will evaluate the large bowel (colon) and the ileo-caecal junction.

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Indications
 
Indications include polyps, diverticulae, tumours, strictures and mucosal changes.
This is an x-ray procedure that shows the rectum and anal canal as they change during defecation.

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Indications

For chronic constipation, rectal prolapse, rectocoele, enterocele and faecal incontinence.
A barium meal evaluates the stomach, duodenum and the proximal small bowel. Comment will also be made on the oesophagus.

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Indications
 
To assess inflammation of the stomach lining (gastritis), for chronic disease such as Chron's disease, to look for stomach and duodenal ulcers, for tumours and to evaluate congenital malformations in children.
This is the best investigation to evaluate the small bowel which is inaccessible to alternative modalities such as colonoscopy for large bowel.

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Indications:

For inflammatory bowel disease – Chrons's, infections and tumours.