Erondu Felix Okechukwu
Barium swallow remains the simplest most commonly p erformed examination of the upper GIT, providing bo th anatomic and functional information about the oroph aryngeal and esophageal apparatus. Barium aspiratio n as a complication of this procedure is not new, but it s dynamics and clinical implications continue to ev olve. We present a case study involving a 57-year-old Nigeri an male who was referred for barium swallow to ev aluate the upper GIT on account of clinical history of chr onic dysphagia. Initial clinical work –up based on the patients’ symptom was equivocal in the distinction of oropharyngeal and esophageal dysphagia, thus jus tifying the need for a simple radiological procedure such a s barium swallow. During the procedure, barium was visualized to have been aspirated into the lungs. T he need to understand the patients underlying histo ry, experience in performing the procedure and early re cognition of the signs of aspiration are emphasized . It also underscores the need to exercise caution, especiall y in patient’s whose symptoms are equivocal, and wh en oropharyngeal dysphagia is suspected. The classical radiological appearances of barium pneumonitis, it s implications and outcome are presented.
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