University of Iowa Department of Radiology, Section of Pediatric Radiology
Peer Review Status: Internally Peer Reviewed
Creation Date: Unknown
Last Revision Date: Unknown
A modified barium swallow/esophagram is an examination which observes the quality of the swallowing mechanism as the child swallows different textures of barium covered foods and liquids. The child lies on the X-ray table or is positioned in a special support chair, depending on the age of the patient. The radiologist, assisted by the technologist and the occupational therapist, makes a videotape of the X-ray procedure while the various consistencies of food are introduced and swallowing maneuvers are tried.
The three phases of swallowing, oral (mouth), pharyngeal (throat) and esophageal are studied in detail by watching the swallowing mechanism under the fluoroscope and afterwards by scrutinizing the videotape obtained simultaneously during fluoroscopy.
After the three phases of swallowing are completed, further evaluation of the stomach anatomy and its relationship to the esophageal function is obtained. This involves feeding more barium either by bottle, cup or nasogastric tube. This completes the examination and the child is returned to the waiting area.