Barium aspiration

Case contributed by Mohamed El Deen
Diagnosis certain


Difficulty in swallowing, long history of GERD and recent unintentional loss of weight.

Patient Data

Age: 75 years
Gender: Male

Barium swallow showing aspirated contrast outlining the trachea, right main bronchus and bronchioles. 


Some contrast has spread into the smaller airways.

Case Discussion

During the rapid-drinking phase, the patient accidentally aspirated a small amount of barium (without any elicited cough reflex). Contrast outlines the trachea and right main bronchus and smaller amount reached bronchioles. 

Barium aspiration is an indication to terminate a study, and we sent the patient to be under close observation in the hospital for 24 hours. Follow up was done at our outpatient clinic through the rest of the week. Fortunately, the patient was totally fine without any respiratory complications.

How to use cases

You can use Radiopaedia cases in a variety of ways to help you learn and teach.

Creating your own cases is easy.