Your child's videofluoroscopy test will give us a clearer picture of what is happening in his or her mouth or throat when your child swallows. It also allows us to see if there are ways to make your child swallow safer and easier.

What do I need to bring to the appointment?

You should bring some food and drink which your child would usually eat. It is also helpful if you bring your child’s usual bottle/spoon/ beaker/cup or cutlery along.

If your child requires special positioning or seating during mealtimes, please let us know. We may ask you to bring the seating with you if possible.

How do I prepare my child for the procedure?

You can feed your child before the assessment. However, we advise only a small amount of food as your child will need to eat and drink during the assessment. This is easier if your child is hungry.

Earrings and necklaces may need to be removed during the test as they can interfere with the X-ray image.  Jumpers with metal press-studs or zips may also need to be removed.

What does the test involve?

Your child will be seated in a small supportive chair in front of an X-ray machine. He/she will be given different types of food or drink to swallow. This will be mixed with or coated with a liquid called barium contrast, which makes the food and drink show up on the X-ray and so lets us look at your child’s swallow process using the X-ray machine. We also make a video recording of the procedure.

We may ask you to feed your child as we try to follow your usual feeding routine as closely as possible.

Who will be involved in the test?

  • A parent/carer
  • Your child
  • A speech and language therapist
  • A consultant radiologist
  • A radiographer/nurse

Are there any significant risks or side effects?

Radiation can be harmful in large doses. However, a very low dose of radiation is used for the X-rays. We take every precaution when using radiation.

If you are pregnant or think you may be pregnant you will need to stay outside of the X-ray room during your child’s test. This is because radiation, even in small doses, can cause harm to unborn babies.

Any other children with you will not be allowed into the X-ray room during your child’s test. This is to reduce the risk of harm from radiation.

The barium will pass through your child’s digestive system. Occasionally it may cause constipation.

When will we receive the results?

We are usually able to give you some immediate feedback on the results. However, we will need to carry out further analysis of the video recording before we are able to give you a full set of results. We will arrange a time to contact you with these.

As the test is videotaped we can show this tape to you to explain any difficulties your child has. If there are any changes needed to your child’s current eating and/or drinking pattern, these will be discussed with you and the medical team involved in your child’s care.

There are currently no related conditions associated with this test.

Imaging at Royal Brompton Hospital

Department head:

Professor Simon Padley 

Tel: +44 (0)20 7351 2326
Fax: +44 (0)20 7351 2325
Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm

Imaging locations 

Fulham wing, ground floor
Sydney wing, level three
Chelsea wing, level three
Britten wing, ground floor