Experimental colonic rupture in rabbits followed by an enema of barium sulfate or water-soluble radiographic contrast media was, without treatment, uniformly fatal. Surgical repair of the colonic rupture and peritoneal lavage resulted in only 10% survival in animals with peritonitis due to feces mixed with barium. Fifty percent of animals with peritonitis due to feces mixed with water-soluble media, and in which surgical repair was performed promptly, survived. These results suggest that water-soluble contrast materials be more strongly considered for employment when a contrast enema is considered indicated during acute-phase abdominal illness.
Sisel RJ, Donovan AJ, Yellin AE. Experimental Fecal PeritonitisInfluence of Barium Sulfate or Water-Soluble Radiographic Contrast Material on Survival. Arch Surg. 1972;104(6):765-768. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1972.04180060015003