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Modified Barium Swallow
A modified barium swallow is a motion picture x-ray that looks for
swallowing problems in your mouth and throat. The test checks what
types of foods and liquids are safe for you to swallow.

If you are breastfeeding, pregnant, or think you might be,
tell the staff before the x-ray is taken.

Arrive on time for your test. Plan on being here for about 1 hour. The
test takes about 15-30 minutes.
During the Test
• In the x-ray room, you sit in a chair.
• You are given different foods and liquids to chew and swallow. The
food is covered with barium. Barium lets the food and drink you are
swallowing be seen on x-ray.
• You may be asked to turn your head, sit back, hold your breath,
cough or take small bites during the test.
After the Test
• The speech therapist will discuss your test results with you and show
you ways to make swallowing safer.
─ Positions when you eat
─ Types of food or drink that are safest for you to swallow
─ Ways to thicken liquids if needed

Talk to your doctor or nurse if you have any questions or concerns.
6/2005. Developed through a partnership of The Ohio State University Medical Center, Mount
Carmel Health and OhioHealth, Columbus, Ohio. Available for use as a public service without
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