The medical records of 214 consecutive inpatients who had a barium enema examination were reviewed, and the clinical indications, efficacy of the barium enema, and patient outcome were correlated to determine the impact of the barium enema on patient management. The most frequent indications were rectal bleeding (33%), abdominal pain (31%), anemia (17%), weight loss (12%), and previous lesions needing reevaluation (12%). Diverticular disease (30%), colonic polyps (10%), and primary or secondary malignancies (12%) were the most common abnormalities detected radiographically. The sensitivity of the barium enema for colonic neoplasms was 89%, with only 1 small cecal polyp being undetected. The effects of barium enema on patient management were serious pathology excluded (64%), diagnosis made that changed therapy (24%), existing therapy continued (10%), and a further study ordered (2%). No serious or life-threatening lesion was missed by barium enema.
Colon, radiography Barium enema, indications
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