Pediatric Video Swallow Study


A pediatric video swallow study is a test in which your child swallows barium under an X-ray, so the process of swallowing and the movement of food from the mouth to the stomach can be watched. It can be called by many different names including: oral-pharyngeal motility study, videofluroscopic swallow study, rehab swallow study, cine swallow study, cookie swallow, modified barium swallow, or video fluoroscopy. This study is digitally recorded so specialists can carefully study the results.


Why are they performed?

Videofluroscopic swallow studies are recommended when there is a concern about how well your child swallows, how well the airway is protected during swallowing, and how well food moves from the mouth to the stomach.  Doctors are particularly interested in seeing whether food of liquid is being aspirated (drawn into) the child’s airway.  This is a serious situation which can result in chronic lung and breathing problems. 

A videofluroscopic swallow stud may be considered for your child if several of the following issues occur regularly:

  • Frequent choking
  • Coughing or gagging during meals
  • Trouble handling saliva
  • Gurgly respiration
  • Chronic respiratory problems
  • Very fussy eating behaviors
  • Difficulty directing food to be swallowed


Where are they performed?

These studies are performed on an outpatient basis in the imaging department of the hospital.  A radiologist and a pediatric speech language pathologist are present to interpret the study.


What to expect

As a parent or guardian, you will be asked to be present during the study to help your child remain calm and to feed your child.  You and any other participants will be required to wear X-ray protection capes. 

Your child will be seated in an upright support chair.   Views will be taken from the side.  Your child will be given one or more different textured barium mixtures that will show up on X-ray.  Some children take thin liquid, and others may take a paste or chewable food that has been coated in barium.  Please bring your child’s favorite bottle, cup, and spoon to keep the procedure as familiar as possible.  The barium liquid and paste can be mixed with favorite foods you bring from home. 

Your child is given small tastes, and the video X-ray traces the swallow and follows the food or liquid down the throat to the stomach.  Not much barium is needed to get a good view of a swallow.  Different treatment options may be tried on the spot if the specialists find a problem and want to see how different textures or positions change the results. 



The results will be shared with you by your child’s doctor, the radiologist, and/or the pediatric speech pathologist.  The future course of action will be discussed and determined by your primary care team.

To schedule a Pediatric Video Swallow Study please call centralized scheduling at 561-744-4414


©1994 by Therapy Skill Builders, a division of Communication Skill Builders, Inc./ 602-323-7500/ Catalog No. 4332.  This page may be reproduced for instructional use./ Feeding and Nutrition for the Child with Special Needs/ Klein and Delaney