Computed tomography of the colon in elderly people Single contrast barium study is adequate

BMJ 1994; 308 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.308.6944.1639b (Published 18 June 1994) Cite this as: BMJ 1994;308:1639
  1. P Boardman,
  2. D J Nolan
  1. Department of Radiology, John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford OX3 9DU

    EDITOR, - Michelle Fink and colleagues are presumably referring to the double contrast barium enema technique when they state that barium enema can be difficult, distressing, and unrewarding in frail elderly patients.1 We agree that the standard double contrast baruim enema can be unpleasant and unsuccessful in elderly people and that alternative techniques for examining the colon should be evaluated.

    The colon can be examined quickly, efficiently, and without distress by using a single contrast barium technique. For the past year it has been our policy to investigate the colon with a single contrast barium enema technique in frail elderly patients. The use of low viscosity barium suspension, often combined with smooth muscle relaxants, has proved successful in imaging the entire colon. The dilute barium suspension is infused into the rectum under gravity and flows rapidly through …

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