What Is A Swallowing Videofluoroscopy?

A Swallowing Videofluoroscopy is a moving (dynamic) X-ray assessment of the swallowing function that shows the passage of foods and fluids from the mouth, through the pharynx (throat) and into the oesophagus.  The food and fluid are mixed with a solution of Barium Contrast which shows up on the X-ray and allows us to evaluate oral, pharyngeal and laryngeal competency during the swallowing process. It is possible to observe whether food or fluid is going down the wrong way or getting stuck in the pharynx/larynx. 

A Videofluoroscopy is carried out with the patient in an upright sitting position, eating and drinking in a normal fashion with X-ray images being taken from the side and/or the front of the patient.

During the assessment, a variety of foods and fluids such as water, yoghurt, banana or biscuits may be used to observe and compare swallowing abilities.

The Speech and Language Therapist may also analyse if there is a head posture and/or specific exercises that will improve the patients’ swallow.

What Does It Tell Us?

A Swallowing Videofluoroscopy provides us with information about;

  • The movement of the swallowing mechanisms
  • The easiest and safest consistencies of food and drink to swallow
  • The benefits of different postures to assist the transit of food during the swallow
  • The benefits of specific exercises to improve the strength and effectiveness of the swallow

Who Is Involved In A Videofluoroscopy?

A Speech and Language Therapist conducts the swallowing trials during the assessment and will analyse the mechanics of the swallow.

A Radiographer ensures that you are positioned optimally and operates the X-ray equipment.

A Radiologist is present within the department and will comment on any complex studies.

A Swallowing Videofluoroscopy referral may be appropriate for patients who:

  • Have difficulty chewing or swallowing food or fluids
  • Have frequent chest infections or difficulty breathing
  • Are reported to cough or choke when eating or drinking.
  • Are reported to sound ‘gurgly’ or ‘chesty’ in association with eating or drinking.
  • Take an unusually long time to eat their meal
  • Report food sticking in their throats

Woman experiencing swallowing difficulty

Swallowing problems (dysphagia) may be the result of:

  • Stroke
  • Head Injury
  • Progressive neurological disease
  • Head and neck surgery
  • Neurosurgery
  • Anterior cervical spine surgery

Where Is The Procedure Performed?

Videofluoroscopy assessments take place in the Radiology Department at the New Victoria Hospital.

Who Performs The Procedure?

Videofluoroscopy swallowing assessments at New Victoria Hospital are performed by Dr Chetan Vyas.

How To Refer To The Videofluoroscopy Clinic:

All patients require a medical referral from their Consultant or General Practitioner to undergo a Swallowing Videofluoroscopy assessment.


To enquire about our specialist private swallowing videofluoroscopy service, call New Victoria Hospital today on 020 8949 9020 or:

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