Role for barium swallow in GERD

In patients with gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), is there a role for barium swallow? 

A barium esophagram plays a key role prior to antireflux surgery for patients with GERD. This examination allows for assessment of esophageal emptying, identifies the presence and type of hiatal hernia as well as the presence of a foreshortened esophagus, evaluates esophageal motility, and may detect and qualify the amount of reflux. The caveat with reflux is that its absence at the time of the barium swallow does not exclude this diagnosis; therefore this examination should never be performed solely to detect or exclude reflux.


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