What is the role of chest radiography in the workup of upper gastrointestinal bleeding (UGIB)?

Updated: Aug 12, 2019
  • Author: Bennie Ray Upchurch, III, MD, FACP, AGAF, FACG, FASGE; Chief Editor: BS Anand, MD  more...
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Answer

If clinical suspicion is high for aspiration pneumonia, effusion, or esophageal perforation, order chest radiographs to rule our these conditions. Obtain abdominal scout and upright films to exclude a perforated viscus and ileus.

Barium contrast studies are not usually helpful in cases of suspected upper gastrointestinal bleeding and can make endoscopic procedures more difficult (ie, white barium obscuring the view) and dangerous (ie, risk of aspiration).

See Upper Gastrointestinal Bleeding Imaging and Esophageal Varices Imaging for more information on these topics.


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