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Clin Radiol. 2001 May;56(5):393-6.

Blood pressure changes during barium enema.

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  • 1Department of Radiology, South Manchester University Hospitals, NHS Trust, Manchester M20 2LR, U.K.



To document blood pressure changes during barium enema examination and to determine at what point in the examination changes are likely to occur.


Blood pressure measurements were taken at seven points during the course of barium enema examination in 107 consecutive patients. We found that patients over the age of 60 years had statistically significant decreases in blood pressure when they were stood up during the course of the examination. Many of these patients were asymptomatic. Patients who had symptoms (15/107, 14%) when standing up had a degree of hypotension. The duration of barium enema examination is longer in those patients who experience symptoms.


During a barium enema examination hypotension occurs at the point of standing up more frequently in patients over 60 years and in those who suffer symptoms at this time. Patients who fall into one of these groups should be considered at risk of fainting at this point in the examination. A modified technique to avoid standing should be considered in at-risk patients. Roach, S. C.et al. (2001). Clinical Radiology56, 393-396.

Copyright 2001 The Royal College of Radiologists.

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