A Videofluoroscopic Swallow Study, or Modified Barium Swallow Study (MBS), is an x-ray of your child's swallow during drinking/eating. This study is performed at the request of your managing physician to gain more information about your child's swallowing mechanism and to rule out aspiration (liquid going into the airway). The swallow study is performed in the Radiology Department and will be conducted by a radiologist and speech-language pathologist. Your child will be given liquid and solid containing barium contrast to drink/eat while video images of the swallow are obtained.

At the study, a speech pathologist will conduct a brief interview to obtain the pertinent medical history and background information related to feeding/swallowing concerns. Following the study, the speech pathologist will discuss the results of the study and make preliminary recommendations, which will be provided to the managing physician who will make final decisions regarding the feeding plan.

During the study, every effort is made to make the procedure as naturalistic as possible. Therefore, caregivers are encouraged to bring the child's own feeding utensils such as bottles, sippy cups, and spoons. Although some food is provided during the study, bringing foods that the child enjoys is encouraged, especially if your child is a "picky eater."

*Please remember, your child must not eat or drink anything 3 hours prior to the study.

The following terms may be used by the speech-language pathologist during the study:

  • Aspiration occurs when liquid/food enters the airway. Some signs of aspiration include coughing/choking, wet vocal quality, red/watery eyes, color changes, and nasal flaring
  • Penetration occurs when liquid/food tries to enter the airway but does not go past the level of the vocal cords.
  • Delay in triggering the swallow: occurs when food/liquid pools in the pockets of the throat (vallecula and pyriform sinuses)
  • Residue: refers to any material remaining in the mouth or throat following the swallow
  • Nasopharyngeal reflux occurs when liquid/food enters the nasal cavity instead of going towards the esophagus.