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Radiology. 1993 Apr;187(1):109-12.

Cleansing enema prior to double-contrast barium enema examination: is it necessary?

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Department of Radiology, University Hospital Maastricht, The Netherlands.


In a prospective study, 443 patients referred for double-contrast barium enema examination were allocated to one of four regimens consisting of either 24 or 48 hours of clear liquids in combination with a cathartic laxative (magnesium sulfate), an irritant laxative (bisacodyl), and hydration. One regimen from each time group included a preliminary cleansing enema. Significantly higher bowel cleanliness scores were given to the 48-hour regimen with no cleansing enema (P < .0002). Scores for overall quality of the barium enema examination (based on detectability of a 1-cm lesion) showed no significant differences between a 24- and a 48-hour regimen, with or without a cleansing enema. No differences emerged in patient acceptance of the regimens, and 54%-57% of patients had no complaints about the preparation. The authors recommend a 48-hour preparation to minimize the risk of interfering fecal material, especially in subjects with colonic dysmotility. A time-consuming cleansing enema can be omitted.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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