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March 1960

Water-Soluble Contrast MediaTheir Use in the Diagnosis of Obstructive Gastrointestinal Disease

Author Affiliations

Plainfield, N.J.; Philadelphia

AMA Arch Surg. 1960;80(3):495-500. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1960.01290200139025

Barium remains as the agent of choice in the routine radiographic study of the gastrointestinal tract. In gastrointestinal obstruction, barium is often contraindicated as inefficient or dangerous.5 The water-soluble media are of value at such times as they possess unusual properties which enhance their effectiveness in diagnosing gastrointestinal obstructions with safety.

Properties  The water-soluble media (diatrizoate sodium [Hypaque] was used in this study) are stable aqueous solutions. Therefore, they do not impact or inspissate in the enteric tract.7 They are completely miscible with gastrointestinal secretions and with blood.6 In perforating lesions, they may enter the peritoneal cavity without resultant side-effects and they have been found to disappear from the peritoneal cavity rapidly.6,7 They are also harmless in the biliary tree, pleural cavity, and lung, where again they disappear readily.These materials have a very low viscosity (Fig. 1) enabling them to traverse partial obstructions with ease,

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