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Combined barium meal and cholecystogram--an analysis of 1,444 patients.
  1. P. C. Watt,
  2. R. A. Spence,
  3. R. C. Campbell,
  4. J. J. McGurk,
  5. D. G. Whytes


    Since many dyspeptic patients are still investigated initially by radiology, a policy was initiated whereby all such patients were directly referred for combined simultaneous double-contrast barium meal and cholecystogram. This policy was aimed at reducing patient visits to hospital and increasing diagnostic yield. The results of 1,444 combined procedures are presented. Of these, 310 (25.5%) had a positive finding on barium meal only; 275 (19%) were positive for cholecystogram only; 117 (8.1%) were positive for both examinations; 742 (51.4%) were negative for both examinations. Of all the patients (427) who had a positive finding on barium meal, 27.4% (117) also had a positive finding on cholecystogram. Of all the patients (392) with a positive cholecystogram, 29.8% (117) also had a positive barium meal. Diagnostic yield rose considerably with patient age. It was found that simultaneous barium meal and cholecystogram presented no serious technical difficulties. It was concluded that in patients over 40 years old, this policy improved diagnostic yield as many patients had both gall bladder and upper gastrointestinal pathology. In all other patients this policy markedly reduced the number of hospital visits. Combined simultaneous double-contrast barium meal and cholecystogram is therefore recommended for hospitals which used radiology for the first line investigation of dyspepsia. Also, the general principle of examination of both gall bladder and upper gastrointestinal tract is pertinent where other first line investigations are used.

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