Within two years after Roentgen's discovery of the x-ray, Cannon studied the movements of the stomach and intestines of cats on the fluoroscopic screen after giving them food mixed with bismuth subnitrate. Shortly thereafter, Francis Williams applied a similar technique to human subjects, and an important and extremely useful method for examination of the digestive tract had its beginning. Today, the conventional fluoroscopic and radiographic examination of the gastrointestinal tract remains the safest and the most informative study of this system; however, this method of examination is by no means absolute, for there are many inherent limitations.
In many instances, varying with the anatomy of the subject examined and the conditions under which the examination is conducted, little credence should be attached to certain indefinite findings or to a negative study. Therefore, just as it is true that pathological change cannot be correctly interpreted when normal variants are not known,
Swenson PC, Jeffery RB. LIMITATIONS IN THE USE OF ROENTGEN EXAMINATION OF THE GASTROINTESTINAL TRACT. JAMA. 1953;153(16):1422–1424. doi:10.1001/jama.1953.02940330006002
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