BREAD AND BARIUM: Diagnostic value in patients with suspected primary esophageal motility disorders

Authors: Nellemann, H.1; Aksglaede, K.2; Funch-Jensen, P.3; Thommesen, P.1

Source: Acta Radiologica, 1 March 2000, vol. 41, no. 2, pp. 145-150(6)


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To evaluate the significance of bread and barium studies as a diagnostic tool as well as a supplement to manometric investigation of the esophagus in patients with suspected esophageal motility disorders.

Material and Methods:

Eighty-nine patients suspected for primary esophageal motility disorders were examined. All patients were interviewed before the investigation to determine the prevalence of symptoms like heartburn, chest pain, and dysphagia. The patients underwent simultaneous roentgenologic and manometric investigations in the supine position during wet and solid barium swallow, and during continuous drinking, followed by investigation for gastroesophageal reflux (GER). The manometric examination was performed with triple-lumen catheters connected to a hydraulic capillary infusion system and external transducers.


All patients with normal esophageal clearing (n=31) had normal manometry. Patients with delayed esophageal clearing (n=58) required manometry for identifying concommittant motility disorders; achalasia and diffuse esophageal spasms were found only in patients with delayed liquid and solid emptying. GER and/or esophageal rings was demonstrated in 31 patients.


We suggest bread and barium as the first diagnostic step in patients with clinical suspicion of primary esophageal motility disorders.

Keywords: Esophageal motility disorders, radiography; barium sulfate

Document Type: Original Article


Affiliations: 1: Department of Radiology R, 2: Motility Laboratory, and 3: Surgical Gastroenterology L, Aarhus University Hospital, Aarhus, Denmark.

Publication date: March 1, 2000

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