Diseases of the esophagus: diagnosis with esophagography

Radiology. 2005 Nov;237(2):414-27. doi: 10.1148/radiol.2372050199. Epub 2005 Sep 16.


The barium esophagram is a valuable diagnostic test for evaluating structural and functional abnormalities of the esophagus. The study is usually performed as a multiphasic examination that includes upright double-contrast views with a high-density barium suspension, prone single-contrast views with a low-density barium suspension, and, not infrequently, mucosal-relief views with either density of barium suspension. The double-contrast phase optimizes the ability to detect inflammatory or neoplastic diseases, whereas the single-contrast phase optimizes the ability to detect hiatal hernias and lower esophageal rings or strictures. Fluoroscopic examination of the esophagus is also important for assessing motility disorders such as achalasia and diffuse esophageal spasm. This article is a review of gastroesophageal reflux disease, other types of esophagitis, benign and malignant esophageal tumors, varices, lower esophageal rings, diverticula, and esophageal motility disorders, all of which can be diagnosed with the aid of esophagography.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Barium Sulfate*
  • Contrast Media
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Esophageal Diseases / diagnostic imaging*
  • Fluoroscopy
  • Humans
  • Radiography / methods*


  • Contrast Media
  • Barium Sulfate