Barium Swallow

This is a test we order a LOT in the NSICU. It’s used to ensure that patients who have had a brain injury and an equivocal bedside swallowing exam are actually safe to swallow. They’re used a lot with another group of patients I see in the SICU a lot too, esophagectomy patients. In that case, it’s less to make sure patients aren’t aspirating and more to make sure their esophageal anastomosis isn’t leaking before they’re allowed to resume eating.

But, we often don’t see the images, just the report. So, this Instagram post from theradiologistpage is really interesting. You can see the anatomy and functional assessment involved in this study. For our Speech Language Pathologist (SLP) colleagues, this is a test they use all the time to help us determine if it’s safe for our patients to eat and what consistency/thickness of liquids are safe.

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