An esophagram is a test which uses X-rays to take pictures of the esophagus.

The esophagus is the tube between the mouth and the stomach.

Before you come to the hospital, explain to your child what will happen. For young children, use simple words and explain only right before the test.

Your child should not eat or drink anything for 4 hours before the test. If your child is taking medicines ordered by a doctor, give them at the scheduled times with just a sip of water.

During the test, your child will lie on the X-ray table. He / she will drink a special liquid called barium. Barium is a milky white or pink liquid that is usually strawberry or fruit flavored. While the child drinks the barium, a doctor (radiologist) or X-ray technologist will take X-ray pictures.

Nothing will hurt your child during the test, but he / she will need to lie still on the X-ray table. If he / she is unable to lie still, our staff may assist your child with holding still. Parents are encouraged to stay in the X-ray room during the test. Most children are less apprehensive and more cooperative when a loved one is with them. If you are pregnant, you will have to wait outside the room. It is a good idea for siblings to stay with another caregiver. The test usually lasts about 30 minutes.

It is possible that during the procedure your child may experience some discomfort. Please tell the doctor, nurse or technologist if pain occurs. 

The technologist will tell you that you may leave when all the X-ray pictures are taken. Your child may return to normal daily activities. Results of the test will be sent to your child's doctor, who will contact you about the results.

It is possible that your child's stool may appear to be whitish in color for 24-48 hours after the test due to the barium, which he / she has swallowed. This is not cause for concern. Encouraging your child to drink fluids will allow his / her stool to return to normal within a short time.

Last Updated 06/2012