An Indian American doctor here is using milk instead of commonly used barium as a way of highlighting the bowel for radiological studies.
Lisa Shah Patel of St. Luke's-Roosevelt Hospital in New York tested 168 patients. About 60 received a commonly available diluted barium solution and the rest milk. All the patients had CT scans of their small or large intestines.
Results showed that there was no difference between barium and milk in terms of ability to read the X-rays.
"Both the diluted barium base solution and milk allow the inside of the bowel structure to appear in grey," Shah was reported as saying by Voice of America.
"We're finding that patients prefer drinking milk, or do not object to drinking milk as much as they do drinking the diluted barium-based solution," Shah said.
"There's definitely a cost benefit as well, with the diluted barium-based solution costing about $18 per patient versus milk, when bought by the quart, costing less than $1.50 per patient," he added.
Shah said that 85 percent of the patients on milk said they would select milk again in another study.
She presented her paper at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America recently.