Little attention has been given to the significance and possible sequelae of retention of barium in the appendix following a barium meal or enema. Failure of the appendix to fill in the course of either examination is not considered to be of significance. If barium is demonstrated, some positive information is gained in regard to the location. Occasionally, nonopaque fecaliths or kinks in the lumen may be seen. It is usually stated in radiological monographs that the appendix empties itself simultaneously with the cecum or within 24 to 48 hours. When an apparently normal appendix fills with barium, repeat x-ray studies are rarely recommended to determine whether the appendix has evacuated the barium.
Barium is not irritating to the lining of the gastrointestinal tract. However, when retained in the appendix, it may form the nidus of a fecalith, which the appendix may be unable to extrude. Its retention might be