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Pediatric Diagnostic Imaging

When Your Child's Having an Upper GI

What is an upper GI?

An UGI (upper gastrointestinal) is an exam that takes x-ray pictures of the upper part of the digestive tract.

How does my child get ready for the exam?

Depending on your child’s age, they won’t be allowed to eat or drink for a certain amount of time before the exam.

You’ll be told when your child has to stop eating and drinking.

Where is the exam done?

Your child will be taken into a room that has a large camera over a table. This room is often a little cool.

What happens during the exam?

A doctor and a technologist will do the exam.

Your child will then lie on the table and the big camera will be positioned over them.

Your child will take some sips of barium from a bottle or a cup and straw. Barium looks like a milkshake. It tastes a bit chalky, so we can add a flavour in it if your child wants.

The barium outlines the inside of the digestive system and lets the doctor “see” what the inside of the digestive system looks like.

What happens during the exam?

Your child will have to lie very still while the pictures are being taken.

Your child will have to roll over a couple of times (to coat the stomach with the barium). Pictures are taken as your child sips barium and moves into different positions on the table.

What happens after the exam?

Your child can go home after the test and carry on with their day as usual. Your child can eat and drink as usual after the exam.

Try to have your child drink extra fluids for the first few days after the exam to help clear the barium from their body.

The test results will be sent to the doctor who ordered the exam in about 1 week.

For 24/7 nurse advice and general health information, call Health Link at 811.​

Current as of: September 25, 2020

Author: Diagnostic Imaging, Alberta Health Services