Causes of Dysphagia

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The Video Swallow Study is also known as a Modified Barium Swallow, Videoflouroscopic Swallow Study, Video Swallow Function or a Cookie Swallow.

The test is performed by a qualified speech-language pathologist and a radiology technologist. A radiologist (M.D.) may or may not be physically in the room but does consult with the speech pathologist to confer on the findings.
A doctor’s prescription is needed for this examination. It is usually performed to evaluate problems with swallowing such as frequent choking, coughing, recurrent pneumonia, food getting stuck, feeling like the throat is closing up, feeling like there is a lump in the throat or pain with eating or drinking. The procedure is non-invasive and uses a moving x-ray (fluoroscopy) to watch you eat and drink.

Before Your Procedure

No preparation is necessary for this exam.

The speech-language pathologist will take brief clinical history and ask questions related to your specific complaints. Prior to the swallow study an examination of the structures of the mouth will be performed. If you normally eat with dentures please be sure to wear them.

During Your Procedure

The speech-language pathologist will explain your procedure and answer any questions you may have before your exam.

You will be given a gown to wear over your clothes. You will be asked to remove any necklaces, chains or earrings.

Your exam will be performed with you sitting in a chair.

During your study you will be asked to drink and eat different types of liquids and foods. The food and liquid will be coated with barium which allows us to see the substances you are consuming during the x-ray. We will start gradually with very small teaspoon amounts and work up to whatever you can safely manage. You will be instructed to eat and drink as you would normally, however we may ask you do try some techniques that may improve your swallowing while we are viewing it.
The entire test will be recorded on a DVD as well as on a computer.
The actual time under x-ray is very brief; usually less than 5 minutes however we ask that you expect to stay for one hour. This will include plenty of time for the gathering of information prior to the exam, the exam and the explanation of the results.

After Your Procedure

The recording of the examination will be shown and results reviewed with explanation provided. Family members, caregivers and significant others are welcome.

Drink plenty of liquid for 24 to 48 hours.

The barium may make your stool temporarily white.

If you experience constipation, your physician may recommend a mild laxative.

The results of your study will be sent to the ordering physician usually within 12-24 hours. Your physician should discuss these results with you and follow up with any other further intervention.
The speech pathologist will provide a number for you to call and will be available to discuss any further questions or concerns any time after the test is completed.



Teresa Biber, MS, CCC-SLP

Teresa Biber, MS, CCC-SLP

Speech Language Pathologist

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