Your child's pediatric gastroenterology specialist may use one or more radiology tests to look inside the gastrointestinal tract. All of the following tests are performed in Riley Hospital's Radiology area and may be performed on an outpatient basis.
Abdominal Ultrasound / CT Scan / MRI
These imaging studies look for structural abnormalities of the abdominal organs. The tests are painless. Patients who get CT scans or MRI often have to take oral and/or IV contrast (dye to illuminate internal organs and vessels that is given intravenously). A CT scan is usually performed quickly while an MRI requires a longer time and some patients may feel claustrophobic. Very young children may require sedation.
The radiologist will insert a small catheter into the child's rectum and pass dye through the catheter to look for structural abnormalities of the large intestine (colon). No sedation is needed.
Gastric Emptying Study
This test evaluates the emptying of the stomach and also may provide information on the presence of reflux from the stomach to the esophagus. It is done in the nuclear medicine area of Radiology. The child is fed a tasteless dye mixed with milk, formula or food. It is important for the child not to have anything to eat or drink for up to eight hours before the test to ensure that the stomach will be empty at the time the test is started.
For the liquid-meal version of this test, the child will drink the mixture and lie flat on a table. A special scanner will take pictures of the stomach every minute for approximately 60 minutes. The results will provide information about whether Gastroesophageal Reflux (GER) is present and the rate of stomach emptying.
For the solid-meal version of the test, the child will eat a meal of egg and toast mixed with the test dye. The child will have a special X-ray taken right after the meal, two hours later, and if needed, another two hours later. The results provide information on rate of stomach emptying.
Hepatobiliary Iminodiacetic Acid (HIDA) Scan (Also Known as DISIDA)
This radiology imaging test helps determine if the bile ducts and gallbladder are working properly. A small amount of dye is injected through the child's vein.
A special MRI test called MRCP (magnetic resonance cholangiopancreatography) may be used to examine the inside of the bile duct, gall bladder and pancreas.
Small Bowel Barium X-Ray
Your child will be asked to drink a small amount of barium, and several X-rays will be done to follow the barium as it passes through the small intestine. This study looks for disease in the small intestine which cannot be seen with endoscopy. This test usually takes several hours.
Upper Gastrointestinal Barium X-Ray
This test will show the size and shape (known as the anatomy) of the upper GI tract (esophagus, stomach and first part of small intestine) through X-ray images. It will allow the doctor to see if any obstruction or structural problems may be the cause of symptoms. Before the test, the child will not be able to have anything to eat or drink for up to eight hours before the test is scheduled, depending on the age of the child. When the child arrives for the test, he or she will be given white liquid, called barium, to drink. This liquid will coat the GI tract and outline the esophagus, stomach and small intestine. If the child is not able or refuses to drink the barium, a tube may be placed through the nose into the esophagus, and the barium will be given through the tube. This test is usually completed within 20 minutes.
Video Feeding Study / Oximetry Swallow Study
These tests are conducted in Radiology and use barium to evaluate swallowing function. Various consistencies such as thin liquid, thick liquid, pureed food and solid food are tested to see if the child allows any of the consistencies to abnormally pass into the breathing tract while swallowing.
Diseases or Conditions
These tests may be used to diagnose or monitor any of the following diseases or conditions:
- Biliary Atresia
- Crohn's Disease
- Delayed Gastric Emptying
- Foreign Body
- Fulminant Hepatic Failure
- Hirschsprung's disease
- Neonatal Hepatitis
- Peptic Ulcer / H. pylori / Gastritis
- Sclerosing Cholangitis
- Ulcerative Colitis