When is a chest X-ray indicated for diagnosis of peptic ulcer disease (PUD)?

Updated: Apr 26, 2021
  • Author: BS Anand, MD; Chief Editor: Philip O Katz, MD, FACP, FACG  more...
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In patients presenting acutely, a chest radiograph may be useful to detect free abdominal air when perforation is suspected. On upper gastrointestinal (GI) contrast study with water-soluble contrast, the extravasation of contrast indicates gastric perforation.

Double-contrast radiography performed by an experienced radiologist may approach the diagnostic accuracy of upper GI endoscopy. However, it has been replaced largely by diagnostic endoscopy, when available. An upper GI series is not as sensitive as endoscopy for establishing a diagnosis of small ulcers (< 0.5 cm). It also does not allow for obtaining a biopsy to rule out malignancy in the setting of a gastric ulcer or to assess for H pylori infection in the setting of a gastroduodenal ulcer.

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