Two patients with scleroderma of the bowel experienced life-threatening barium impaction after upper intestinal x-ray studies. Although the frequency of this complication is unknown, the difficulty of managing it when it occurs makes prevention imperative. X-ray studies should be performed only after careful consideration of the risks and benefits. When x-ray studies are performed, the patient should be vigorously purged soon thereafter, and a follow-up roentgenogram should be obtained to confirm adequate removal of barium.
(JAMA 235:1715-1717, 1976)
Thompson MA, Summers R. Barium Impaction as a Complication Of Gastrointestinal Scleroderma. JAMA. 1976;235(16):1715–1717. doi:10.1001/jama.1976.03260420031023