Essay on Barium Sulfate and the Gastrointestinal Tract

Essay on Barium Sulfate and the Gastrointestinal Tract

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Over the years barium sulfate has proven to be a successful contrast agent for examination of the gastrointestinal tract. Though the road to discovery was long and relentless at times, when it finally found its niche in medicine it was only to the advantage of the physicians and patients today. There are many new diagnostic tools in radiology today that have led to the questioning of barium studies’ place in medicine and whether it will remain there long. And to what cost it will take to keep barium around, only time will tell some say. Will it prove to be an obsolete and unnecessary step in viewing, finding and diagnosing pathology or will the scanning technology of the modern radiology day find its diagnostic qualities outdated and pointless compared to its more detailed and less time consuming counterparts. 
For years patients coming into radiology have been made to chug cup after cup of barium for diagnostic studies. Though never have patients been too pleased about it, much information was gained by its presence in their system. They would be happy to know that presence is fading fast with new imaging available in diagnostics today. With the success of CT colonography and optical colonoscopy today many patients and physicians alike are choosing to forego the time consuming and often uncomfortably embarrassing procedures of barium studies and opting for the less invasive and less physician-time-intensive procedures (DiSantis, 2008). Though the introduction of barium into medicine is said to be both long and checkered, it is most likely because of its highly beneficial yet also exceedingly poisonous qualities (Schott, 1974). Some would be surprised that any barium businesses are flourishing, but despite its caustic q...

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... & Jacobson, Kevan (2003). Comparison of multidetector ct and barium studies of the small bowel: inflammatory bowel disease in children. American Journal of Roentgenology, 180, 1211- 1216.
Levine, Marc S., Rubesin, Stephen E., & Laufer, Igor (2009). Barium studies in modern radiology: do they have a role? Radiology, 250, 18- 22.
Linton, Otha W. (1995). Medical applications of x-rays. Beamline, 25-34.
Patton, Dennis D. (1999, July). The barium enigma. The Journal of Nuclear Medicine, 7, 24N
Tolan, Damian J.M., Armstong, Euan M., & Chapman, Anthony H. (2007). Replacing barium enema with ct colonography in patients older than 70 years: the importance of detecting extracolonic abnormalities. American Journal of Roentgenology, 189, 1104- 1111.
Schott, G. D. (1974). Some observations on the history of the use of barium salts in medicine. Medical History, 18, 9- 21.

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