May 2, 1953


JAMA. 1953;152(1):71-73. doi:10.1001/jama.1953.03690010077023

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Hazards of Barium Meals.  —Two interesting examples of gastrointestinal perforation following barium meals are recorded in The Lancet (2:1245-1247 [Dec. 27] 1952). One is the case of a woman, aged 67, who was given a barium meal following a provisional diagnosis of nervous dyspepsia. When she returned 24 hours later for the follow-up examination she gave a history of abdominal pain of several hours' duration and was found to have generalized abdominal tenderness. It was considered that the pain might be due to hard masses of barium in the rectum and colon, and two rectal wash-outs were given. As her condition gradually worsened, laparotomy was performed and she was found to have a perforation in the pelvic colon 2 in. above the peritoneal reflection. The colon showed no abnormality at this point or elsewhere. No explanation is forthcoming why masses of inspissated barium should have caused perforation of an

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