Whole milk is effective and cost-effective as oral contrast agent

May 30, 2008

An item commonly found in many homes – whole milk – is just as effective, costs less and is easier on the patient than a diluted (0.1%) barium suspension that is also commonly used as an oral contrast agent in conjunction with CT to examine the gastrointestinal tract, a new study finds.

The study included 215 patients undergoing abdominal and pelvic CT, said Chi Wan Koo, MD, lead author of the study. All patients were given an IV contrast media; 115 were also given whole milk as an oral contrast agent; 100 received a 0.1% barium suspension. Two radiologists reviewed all the images and scored them based on degree of bowel distension and bowel wall visibility. Adequate bowel distension is necessary to optimize resolution of the bowel wall and contents, said Dr. Koo.

The study found that the images taken of patients who were given whole milk were just as useful as the images that were taken of patients given the diluted barium, she said.

In addition, patients were given a questionnaire, asking them how well they tolerated the oral contrast agents, and a cost comparison was done. “We found that milk was less expensive, it had better patient acceptance and fewer adverse symptoms,” Dr. Koo said.

Whole milk and 0.1% barium suspension are valuable in the diagnosis of small bowel disorders, such as ischemia, neoplasm and Crohn’s disease, said Dr. Koo. They are also useful in evaluating pancreatic and biliary abnormalities.

Source: American Roentgen Ray Society

Explore further: Soy versus dairy: Which milk is better for you?

Related Stories

Soy versus dairy: Which milk is better for you?

March 19, 2013

There are good reasons why people may want to swap soy with dairy milk. The carbon, water and phosphate footprint of soy milk is a fraction of the latter. But the main reason for the increasing popularity of soy milk seems ...

Recommended for you

How the finch changes its tune

August 3, 2015

Like top musicians, songbirds train from a young age to weed out errors and trim variability from their songs, ultimately becoming consistent and reliable performers. But as with human musicians, even the best are not machines. ...

Cow embryos reveal new type of chromosome chimera

May 27, 2016

I've often wondered what happens between the time an egg is fertilized and the time the ball of cells that it becomes nestles into the uterine lining. It's a period that we know very little about, a black box of developmental ...

Shaving time to test antidotes for nerve agents

February 29, 2016

Imagine you wanted to know how much energy it took to bike up a mountain, but couldn't finish the ride to the peak yourself. So, to get the total energy required, you and a team of friends strap energy meters to your bikes ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.