- PURPOSE: A prospective blinded randomized trial to compare oral sodium phosphate (NaP) solution with polyethylene glycol (PEG) preparations as bowel preparation prior to barium enema examination. PATIENTS AND METHODS: One hundred and ten patients consented to take part and each patient was randomly assigned to receive either NaP (Oral Fleet Prep) or PEG (Lyteprep). The barium enemas were reviewed by two radiologists blinded to the type of bowel preparation the patient had received. The colon was divided into six segments and each segment was assessed for the amount of stool and water present, the adequacy of coating, the ability to exclude inflammatory bowel disease and the presence of polyps. A score of 0-3 (failure to good) was assigned per segment on each of these criteria. RESULTS: The average individual score for the NaP group was 89.2. The average individual score for the PEG group was 88.81. No significant difference was found in the quality of bowel cleansing between the two agents. In particular there was no significant difference in the scores for water retention (two-tailed P = 0.748) and the difference for the quality of coating was considered not quite significant (two-tailed P = 0.0818). CONCLUSION: Oral sodium phosphate cleans the colon as well as polyethylene glycol solutions. The use of NaP will result in significant cost savings and improved patient compliance.