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Whole Milk Cheaper, Effective Contrast Agent for GI Scans

It also tasted better than oral barium solution, study finds

FRIDAY, June 6, 2008 (HealthDay News) -- Whole milk does as good a job as a diluted barium solution when used as an oral contrast agent in patients getting a gastrointestinal CT scan, and it is cheaper and more agreeable with the patient, a new study finds.

Radiologists reviewing abdominal and pelvic CT images of 215 patients, some given whole milk and the others 0.1 percent barium suspension, found that the images were equally useful regardless of what the patient drank, said study author Dr. Chi Wan Koo. All the patients also received an IV contrast agent whether they drank milk or barium.

"We found that milk was less expensive, it had better patient acceptance and fewer adverse symptoms," Koo said in a prepared statement.

Use of whole milk and 0.1 percent barium suspension helps diagnose small bowel disorders, such as ischemia, neoplasm and Crohn's disease, and evaluate pancreatic and biliary abnormalities, Koo said.

The study was published in the May issue of the American Journal of Roentgenology.

More information

The U.S. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases has more about digestive diseases.

SOURCE: American Roentgen Ray Society, news release, May 29, 2008
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