Barium Swallow Question

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Regular Member

Date Joined Mar 2012
Total Posts : 68
   Posted 4/7/2012 7:44 AM (GMT -6)   

I had my Barium Swallow test recently, and it apparently revealed a small hernia and 'possible' slight reflux.

I had believed after that that it meant my symptoms were definitely related to the hernia and relux, but perhaps not?

Does that mean that the radiologist could see the hernia protrusion during swallowing but not a definitive amount of reflux past the LES?

Is relux sometimes hard to detect during the test?


Regular Member

Date Joined Feb 2012
Total Posts : 75
   Posted 4/7/2012 8:11 AM (GMT -6)   
Hmm, the 'slight' might be a reference to the difficulty discerning whether the barium seen above the diaphragm is in your esophagus or still in the stomach but in the part that has herniated above the diaphragm.

It doesn't really matter if your symptoms are typical of reflux as that's probably what it is and the next step will hopefully be more unequivocal (24 hour pH test).

Regular Member

Date Joined Feb 2011
Total Posts : 95
   Posted 4/7/2012 1:24 PM (GMT -6)   
My barium swallow showed a sliding hernia, but no reflux. However, I had the 48 hour Bravo done, which showed a great amount of reflux. I think it is important to have the full range of GERD testing to get the whole picture for your doctor to make a good diagnosis and treatment plan. I was unable to take meds because of severe side effects. Had the Nissen a year ago and feel fabulous, apart from some issues with hypoglycemia.


Elite Member

Date Joined Apr 2007
Total Posts : 32602
   Posted 4/7/2012 1:38 PM (GMT -6)   
Peggy is right,  sometimes you just have to have the full range of tests to get the big picture of what is going on.  Do talk with your Dr. and request that he interpret the reults for you.
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Regular Member

Date Joined Feb 2012
Total Posts : 75
   Posted 4/7/2012 1:54 PM (GMT -6)   
Yep, the 2 most sensitive tests for detecting reflux are the pH test (Bravo), which can detect acid reflux, and the Impedance test (acid and non-acid).

The other tests, including endoscopy, histology, manometry and barium studies are poor for ruling out the presence of reflux (ie they're not sensitive tests). They're good for investigating possible contributing factors and causes of reflux, possible other causes for your symptoms and establishing any damage done by it.
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