Outcome of barium enema in patients with colorectal symptoms
Background: For many years, double contrast barium enema has been an effective way to evaluate the large bowel. With the development of the colonoscope, the role of barium enema has been questioned. However it
is still useful in investigating patients with colorectal symptoms especially in the developing world where colonoscopy is widely unavailable and fraught with challenges in completely evaluating the colon.
Objective: This study aimed at reviewing double contrast barium enema investigations in our centre.
Methods: This was a retrospective study on patients who underwent double contrast barium enema at the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital from May 2003 to April 2007 on account of symptoms referable to the large bowel.
Results: A total of 362 investigation reports were studied, of which 205 were for males and 154 for females, the mean age of the patients was 55.3 years (S.D 15.3years). Majority of the investigations, 228 (61.96%), were normal. Diverticular disease diagnosed in 88 (23.91%) cases was the commonest finding, followed by neoplasm 27 (7.34%) cases and Ulcerative colitis 6 (1.63%) cases, non-specific narrowing of the bowel in 4 (1.09%) and in 5 (1.36%) cases their investigations were inconclusive due to poor bowel preparation. Rectal bleeding was the most frequent symptom prompting barium enema studies.
Conclusion: Double contrast barium enema study of the large bowel is an important evaluation of patients with colorectal symptoms.