A barium swallow is a test used to visualize the oesophagus, the tube that connects the mouth to the stomach. The test can detect disorders or abnormalities of the oesophagus, such as narrowing or tumours. A barium solution is used because it shows up on X-rays, which are taken continuously to monitor the flow of the solution. The barium may cause temporary constipation.
From the 2010 revision of the Complete Home Medical Guide © Dorling Kindersley Limited.