Barium causes intestinal rupture which ultimately lead to calcification of barium

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New Member

Date Joined Oct 2009
Total Posts : 4
   Posted 10/13/2009 4:39 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi, I'm new to the forum. I'm looking for information and help.

I have been diagnosed with Crohn's disease when I was 15 years old and have been dealing with it ever since. In February 2004, while my Crohn's was active, I had a bowel obstruction. I had to be transported to the hospital by ambulance after passing out at home.

I had a two doses of barium swallow to identify the blockage, then I was operated to remove the blockage. However, the operation proceeded and everything was closed up with the barium inside me with nowhere to go. One hour after the operation, the barium ruptured my intestine, ultimately spilling a double dose of the barium smoothie into my abdominal cavity. This caused me pain of 12 on the pain scale (0 to 10). I was promptly reopened and cleanup as best as they could. However some barium ramained in my abdominal cavity. I was hospitalized for 4 months for an operation that should have taken 1 week.

Since then, I have been on medication to relieve the pain which the calcified barium is causing me. Hydromorphone, Lyrica and Gabapenten are some of the medications I have been on. Without mentioning the anti-depression meds and all of the associated issues with chronic pain... Some of these medications have severally changed my life and has caused me additional pain and suffering.

After seeing several doctors, I have been told that there is nothing to be done. Is this true?

Any information would be extremely helpful, I have had difficulty finding any information on this condition other that several people have died when this has happened.

Thank you.


Veteran Member

Date Joined Feb 2003
Total Posts : 1811
   Posted 10/13/2009 6:54 PM (GMT -6)   
Oh my gosh! What a horrible thing to have to go through. I wish I had some information for you. I don't, but you have my sincerest sympathies for everything you have gone through. Hopefully someone will come along and post something soon.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Apr 2006
Total Posts : 1884
   Posted 10/13/2009 7:05 PM (GMT -6)   
If they have given up, perhaps the docs at the Cleveland Clinic, Mt Sinai, or Mayo Clinic can help.

Veteran Member

Date Joined May 2009
Total Posts : 703
   Posted 10/13/2009 8:43 PM (GMT -6)   
Ever talk to a lawyer about a malpractice lawsuit?

New Member

Date Joined Oct 2009
Total Posts : 4
   Posted 10/16/2009 7:10 AM (GMT -6)   
@njmom: I still have a few local specialist lined up, but we have made requests for help outside the country (Canada) to the US at the Mayo Clinic and other medical Institutes.

Thank you for answering.

Post Edited (pjleger) : 10/16/2009 11:56:57 AM (GMT-6)

Rider Fan
Veteran Member

Date Joined May 2008
Total Posts : 1445
   Posted 10/16/2009 10:03 AM (GMT -6)   
I'm so sorry this happened to you. I would go to the Mayo and re-consider legal action.
33 y/o male. Dx'ed in 1999. No surgeries.

Current meds: Humira 2/27/09. Proferrin iron pills.

Tried SCD, didn't work, now avoiding gluten and dairy.

Go Saskatchewan Roughriders!

Veteran Member

Date Joined Dec 2006
Total Posts : 559
   Posted 10/16/2009 7:37 PM (GMT -6)   
This really is outrageous, because there is no need to do a barium swallow test as an emergency procedure before surgery. Barium swallow tests are done to get a clear picture of the condition of the intestine, and possible obstructions, which may help a doctor decide if surgery is warranted. If someone is in the emergency room with a complete blockage, it's not done. If emergency surgery is done, the doctor can easily see the blockage - the intestine swells up like a balloon where it's blocked. This is just crazy - an amateurish mistake. Legal action would be appropriate.

good luck,
Crohn's since 1988
3 resections

Veteran Member

Date Joined May 2003
Total Posts : 9448
   Posted 10/18/2009 9:19 PM (GMT -6)   
Have you had any abdominal imaging done since the second surgery? It would seem to me that any barium that calcified at the time would HAVE to have moved on thru by now. I would think if it hasn't moved thru then you would be obstructed again. One or the other. I would further guess that the pain you are now encountering is more likely from narrowing at the resection site(s). Or active disease.

Personally I would drop the idea that there was still calcified barium in the intestines causing your current pain when talking w/new gastros and with Mayo and CC, etc. That could work against you and make them a little leery and nervous about you and being involved in some malpractice suit. Once you are established w/them you could then eventually bring it up as a possible cause of your current pain.

Its rather in some ways like asking for heavy duty pain meds your initial visit w/a new doctor - it makes them very very leery of taking you on as a patient.
Some people are like Slinkies... Not really good for anything, but they still bring a smile to your face when you push them down a flight of stairs.

New Member

Date Joined Oct 2009
Total Posts : 4
   Posted 10/19/2009 7:58 AM (GMT -6)   
Hi CrohnieToo,
Perhaps you did not understand my dilemma. After my bowel resection, the barium *ruptured* my intestine and spilled into the inner liner of my abdominal cavity. Doctors frantically brought me to the operating room to remove the barium before more damage was caused. Any barium contained inside my intestines was properly passed out once my bowel started back again (Several Weeks later). My case is unique and the exact source of my pain is not fully confirmed. It could be the nerve damage that the rupturing caused or perhaps any nerve endings associated with the calcified barium. All CT/X-Rays then after have always showed multiple "white spots" in my abdomen, perhaps 30 or more. Plus, my last CT scan confirmed that my intestinal wall is not inflamed and thus my Crohn's is inactive. That's some good news.
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