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At UPMC Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh, we believe parents and guardians can contribute to the success of this test, and we invite you to participate. Please read the following information to learn about the test and how you can help.
An upper gastrointestinal (GAS-tro-in-TEST-in-al) series, or UGI, is an X-ray test that shows the structure of the upper gastro¬intestinal tract, which is the part of the body that food passes through as it is digested. The upper gastrointestinal tract includes the esophagus, which is the tube in the neck that connects the mouth to the stomach through which food passes as it is eaten; the stomach; and, sometimes, the small intestine. When the UGI is ordered with a small bowel series, the upper gastrointestinal tract AND the entire small intestine will be examined.
On the day of the test, your child should not eat or drink anything before the test is done, following these guidelines:
The UGI with small bowel series test is done at the Department of Pediatric Radiology of Children’s Hospital. In the examination room will be a pediatric radiology doctor, who will be taking the X-ray pictures of your child's upper gastrointestinal system, and an X-ray technologist, who will be helping the doctor. You will see an X-ray machine, a long table, and a television screen. You might explain to your child that the X-ray machine is a large camera for taking pictures that will be shown on the screen. If your child has any questions, the doctor or X-ray technologist will be happy to answer them before the test.
Your child will be asked to take off his or her clothing and put on a hospital gown. When your child is ready, he or she will go into the fluoroscopy (floor-OS-co-pee) room and the test will begin.
As a parent, you may have concerns about radiation exposure. Children’s Hospital takes every precaution to make sure your child is safe.
We welcome your help and support during this test. Parents or guardians are invited to join your child in the examination room. Other children can wait in the waiting room, or the Lemieux Sibling Center if siblings are ages 3 to 12 who are toilet trained.
The X-ray technologist will show you where to stand in the examination room during the test. Please follow the instructions of the medical professionals performing the test.
The UGI with small bowel series takes several hours to complete— sometimes two or three hours, or more. When the doctor and X-ray technologist have taken all the X-rays they need, they will check to make sure the pictures are clear, which takes only a few minutes. When they are satisfied with the pictures, the UGI with small bowel series is finished.
If your child has any special needs or health issues you feel the doctor needs to know about, please call the Department of Pediatric Radiology at Children’s before the test. It is important to notify us in advance about any special needs.
Preparing your child beforehand, as well as comforting your child during the test, will help your child have a more positive experience. Sometimes it is difficult to know how to explain tests to children. If you have any questions about ways to prepare or support your child, or feel your child will have difficulty during the test, please call the Department of Pediatric Radiology at Children’s and ask to speak with the Child Life Specialist.
Children's Hospital's main campus is located in the Lawrenceville neighborhood. Our main hospital address is:
UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh
One Children’s Hospital Way
4401 Penn Ave.
Pittsburgh, PA 15224
In addition to the main hospital, Children's has many convenient locations in other neighborhoods throughout the greater Pittsburgh region.
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Interested in giving to Children's Hospital? Support the hospital by making a donation online, joining our Heroes in Healing monthly donor program, or visiting our site to learn about the other ways you can give back.