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A swallowing study is a test that shows what your throat and esophagus do while you swallow. The test uses X-rays in real time (fluoroscopy) to film as you swallow. You'll swallow a substance called barium that is mixed with liquid and food. The barium shows the movements of your throat and esophagus on the X-ray while you swallow.
The test helps your doctor see why you're having trouble swallowing. After treatment, it can also show your doctor if the treatment worked.
Your doctor may tell you not to eat anything after midnight the night before the test.
You won't feel any pain from the X-ray. The barium liquid is thick and chalky, and some people find it hard to swallow. The barium may be flavoured to make it easier to drink.
The test will take about 20 to 30 minutes.
Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse advice line (811 in most provinces and territories) if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to keep a list of the medicines you take. Ask your doctor when you can expect to have your test results.
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Adaptation Date: 3/1/2022
Adapted By: Alberta Health Services
Adaptation Reviewed By: Alberta Health Services
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