Whole milk can be as effective as diluted (0.1 pct) barium suspension for diagnosing small bowel disorders, a new study has revealed.
The study led by Dr Chi Wan Koo on 215 patients undergoing abdominal and pelvic CT has revealed whole milk can be just as effective, costs less and easier on the patient as barium suspension to be used as oral contrast agent in conjunction with CT to examine the gastrointestinal tract.
The patients were given an IV contrast media out of which 115 were also given whole milk as an oral contrast agent, 100 received a 0.1 pct barium suspension.
Later two radiologists reviewed all the images and scored them based on degree of bowel distension and bowel wall visibility.
Dr. Koo said that adequate bowel distension is necessary to optimize resolution of the bowel wall and contents.
She said that the study found that the images taken of patients who were given whole milk were just as useful as the images that were taken of patients given the diluted barium.
In addition, patients were given a questionnaire, asking them how well they tolerated the oral contrast agents, and a cost comparison was done.
"We found that milk was less expensive, it had better patient acceptance and fewer adverse symptoms," said Dr. Koo.
They could also be used for evaluating pancreatic and biliary abnormalities.
The study appears in the May issue of the American Journal of Roentgenology, published by the American Roentgen Ray Society.