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Modified Barium Swallows

A modified barium swallow study is a live x-ray of your child’s swallow. Barium is a white powder/liquid that allows the food or liquid to show up on the x-ray. The child sits in a chair or on the parent’s lap and the x-ray is taken while the child eats and drinks various foods and liquids mixed with barium. The swallow study shows if anything is entering the child’s airway. Your healthcare provider may recommend a modified barium swallow if your child has:

  • Difficulty swallowing food and/or liquids
  • Coughing/Gagging when eating and/or drinking
  • Frequent respiratory illnesses (pneumonia, RSV, bronchitis)

The appointment may take up to 45 minutes and includes a parent interview, the swallow study and follow-up recommendations based on the results. It is recommended your child come a little hungry to encourage eating and drinking during the study.