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Swallow Study

A swallow study uses multiple x-rays to make sure your child is swallowing safely. Your child will swallow liquids or foods mixed with a small amount of barium. The barium makes the food and liquid show up on the x-ray.  

This test is usually done with a speech therapist or occupational therapist. These team members work with your child and watch the x-ray while they swallow.  If their swallow is normal, the food or drink will all go into the swallowing tube (esophagus). If there is a swallowing problem, some of the food or drink may go into the airway (trachea). When this happens, it is called aspiration. 

Sometimes aspiration into the lungs can look like chILD. Sometimes chILD can cause kids to breathe so fast that they can have aspiration. This test is usually done at some point during the work-up for chILD.  

A swallow study is also done in a clinic setting. During a swallow study we use an x-ray movie to see the motion of the throat during swallowing. The patient is given food with a special ingredient called barium. The barium allows the therapist and doctor see while the food is being swallowed.


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