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NCI Dictionary of Cancer Terms

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upper gastrointestinal series  listen  (UH-per GAS-troh-in-TES-tih-nul SEER-eez)

  A series of x-ray pictures of the esophagus, stomach, and duodenum (the first part of the small intestine). The x-ray pictures are taken after the patient drinks a liquid containing barium sulfate (a form of the silver-white metallic element barium). The barium sulfate coats and outlines the inner walls of the upper gastrointestinal tract so that they can be seen on the x-ray pictures. Also called upper GI series.

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Barium swallow; shows barium liquid flowing through the esophagus and into the stomach.