Why do I need to have a swallow study?
While you are in the hospital, your doctor may order a swallow study. There is concern you may have trouble swallowing. In most cases, until this study is finished you will not be allowed to eat or drink. Sometimes when people have trouble swallowing, food or liquid may be going into the lungs. If this happens there is a greater risk of pneumonia. This may lead to a longer hospital stay.
Why is my doctor concerned?
- Unexplained upper respiratory infection
- History of head and neck cancer
- New or past problems such as
- traumatic brain injury
- Parkinson's disease
- cerebral palsy
- multiple sclerosis
- myasthenia gravis
- Lou Gehrig's disease (ALS)
- Recent history of having a breathing tube in your mouth or throat.
What is a bedside swallow study?
A licensed speech-language pathologist (SLP) from the UW Voice and Swallow Clinic will see you at your bedside. You will be seated upright in your bed or in a chair. The SLP will check to see if you are able to swallow ice chips, water, semi-solid and solid foods. They will feel your neck while you swallow. While you swallow you will be watched for any signs of trouble, such as clearing your throat or coughing. If there is concern about your ability to swallow, you may have one of the tests listed below performed.
What is a videofluoroscopic swallow study (VFSS)?
This is like the bedside exam except that moving x-rays are taken while you swallow. You will be taken to the Radiology Department in a wheel-chair. A camera takes pictures of your mouth and throat while you swallow liquids, semi-solid and solid foods mixed with barium. This allows the doctor and SLP to see where the food or liquid is going when you swallow.
What is a fiberoptic endoscopic evaluation of swallow (FEES)?
This is performed at the bedside by an SLP. A small camera (endoscope) is used. You will be seated upright in your bed or chair for this test. The tube slides through your nostril and allows the SLP to look right at your throat. Just like the VFSS test, the SLP will watch you swallow to see where the food and liquid are going. Food coloring may be added to help see the food and liquids better.
The information provided should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed physician should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
Last Updated: 09/05/2012
Copyright © 09/05/2012 University of Wisconsin Hospitals and Clinics Authority. All rights reserved. Produced by the Department of Nursing. HF#6589
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