Video Swallow Study

Your doctor has requested a procedure called a video swallowing exam. This exam is performed to evaluate frequent choking, coughing, recurrent pneumonia and problems swallowing, which may be associated with stroke or surgery. At the S. Mark Taper Foundation Imaging Center, we have a team of imaging physicians, nurses and technologists, led by Richard Sukov, MD, FACR, who specialize in gastrointestinal procedures and who will be performing your exam and interpreting the results.

Before Your Procedure

  • No preparation is necessary for this exam.
  • If your doctor gave you an order, please bring it with you.
  • As applicable, the speech therapist will take a brief clinical history before the exam.
  • We want to make any time you have to wait as pleasant as possible. Please consider bringing your favorite magazine, book or music player to help you pass the time.

During Your Procedure

  • The technologist will explain your procedure and answer any questions you may have before your exam.
  • You will be asked to change into a gown.
  • Your exam will be performed with you sitting in a chair or standing on a platform that is attached to an x-ray table.
  • During your study you will be asked to drink small amounts of liquid (barium) and eat small pieces of bread. The liquid (barium) will be thin at the beginning of the study and will be made thicker as the study continues. The thickness of the liquid will test your ability to swallow food and liquids.
  • The imaging physician will watch the flow of food and liquid from your mouth to your stomach with a fluoroscope (an X-ray unit combined with a television screen) and will record the study on a videotape.
  • Your procedure will take approximately 60 minutes.

After Your Procedure

  • If applicable, the speech therapist will provide a brief review of the study's findings at the conclusion of your exam.
  • Drink plenty of liquid for 24 to 48 hours.
  • The barium may make your stool white for several days.
  • If you experience constipation, your physician may recommend a mild laxative.
  • Your study will be read by the imaging physician and results sent to your physician, usually within 48 hours. Your physician will discuss these results with you and explain what they mean in relation to your health.
For more information or to schedule an appointment