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Barium Swallow Test
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Barium Swallow Test
My 1-yr. old daughter has had a raspy, rattly cough all her life
that never has gone away. She also gets watery eyes and runny
noses even when she doesnt have a cold. She has seen an
allergist and tested negative to common allergies(pet hair,
dairy, etc). She has had a sweat chloride test that ruled out
Cistic Fibrosis. Now, her Pulminary specialist wants to do a
barruim swallow test. This is supposed to indicate if she has
reflux or some physical disorder that prevents the food from
being digested correctly, as I understand it.
My question to anyone who has had or whose child has had this
test is: how risky, pervasive, and uncomfortable is this test?
It seems like an awful lot to put a 1-yr. old through. And I am
not sure whether its worth it. If we find out she has reflux,
odds are she will eventually grow out of it and there is not
much we can do about it to treat the problem. She is otherwise
healthy and happy, and growing well.
There also seems to be a question among all these doctors that
she may have asthma, but no one will commit to diagnosing her as
such. I am concerned about having to put her through this test
if its not really necessary.
Thanks in advance for your advice.
Can you get a second opinion from a pediatric gastroenterologist-
perhaps one not associated with the first doctor's hospital- on
the risk/value of the prodecure?
- 2nd opinion fan
A few months ago I had to do a barium swallow and there was a mom
there with her infant, about 8 months old. Although it was
extremely uncomfortable for me, the baby didn't seem fazed by it
and the mom also said that he was perfectly fine. (That being
said, I would also think long and hard before doing it if I were
in your situation, especially for a condition that the baby might
just grow out of.) Hopefully this will ease your mind if you do
decide to do the test.
My son had the test when he was two. I did not find it helpful because
the results are inconclusive. Stomach fluid going upwards happens
sporadically, so it is probable not to catch it at the moment of the test. His
pediatrician had ordered the test and the results were negative. Later, I
went to a gastroenterolist and he prescribed tagamet. My son takes it
three times a day and his symptoms are gone. The doctor explained that
the test for reflux (a scope down the throat) is too invasive. Therefore
they give meds and see if it helps. My son's symptoms were a lot
different than your child's. But if they suspect reflux, I would try meds and
see if it helps.
Our son had a barium swallow on his first birthday. He had absolutely
no problem with it.
We did it in the morning and he had nothing to eat before hand. I lay him
down on the table and gave him the bottle with the barium mixture in it.
He sucked it down while we watched on the monitor. Then he was done
and we went home.
Not a great celebration, but problem free.
this page was last updated: Jan 4, 2005
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