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iodine barium is a contrast material used to enhance x-ray or CT scans of the gastrointestinal tract. It is an inorganic compound composed of barium and iodine. The molecular formula of anhydrous barium iodide is BaI2 and that of the hydrate form is BaI2(H2O)2. Both forms are solids with a white color. They are soluble in water, ethanol and acetone.

Unlike iodinated contrast materials, barium-sulfate contrast materials are not radio opaque to x-rays. Iodinated contrast materials allow x-rays to pass through them, which allows physicians to see blood vessels and organs clearly. Both iodine-based and barium-sulfate contrast materials can be given orally or by injection, rectally, and in the disk space of the spine.

Before your test, you will be given specific instructions. Usually, doctors ask patients not to drink anything except clear liquids for a certain period of time before the test and to take laxatives or enemas to help clear the barium from their bodies afterward. It is important to follow these directions to avoid any complications from the test.

During the test, you will be asked to swallow a thick barium drink. A radiologist will use single pictures or fluoroscopy to watch the barium move through your mouth, throat, and esophagus. The radiologist may also use the procedure to check for a hiatal hernia or other upper digestive tract problems. The radiologist will also look at your stomach and the first part of your small intestine (duodenum).