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Swallowing examination

The swallowing examination under fluoroscopy observes the real-time function and structure of your throat to diagnose deglutition (swallowing) problems such as:

  • Difficulty chewing or controlling food or liquids in your mouth
  • Any choking caused by food or liquid entering your airways (aspiration)
  • Food lodging in your throat when you eat
  • Pain when swallowing

Examination procedure

For the procedure, you must:

  • Wear a hospital gown and remove jewelry and any metal object that might adversely affect image quality
  • Drink barium, a liquid contrast agent with a slight flavour or vanilla or strawberry

The radiologist will view your deglutition mechanism in real time as you swallow (progression from mouth to esophagus)

Please note that the total duration of your visit for this examination can be between 30 and 60 minutes, even though the examination procedure itself will only last between 5 and 10 minutes.

Preparing for the Examination

To properly prepare for the examination, please follow the procedure below:

  • The evening before the examination, you should not eat any solid food after 8:00 p.m. However, you may drink water until midnight.
  • On the day of the examination, you should be fasting. You should not smoke or chew gum. However, you can still take your medication with a little water.

A medical prescription is required to perform this examination.

The costs of this examination are covered by the Régie de l'assurance maladie du Québec (RAMQ).

If your healthcare professional has prescribed this examination or if you have any questions, contact us at 1-800-463-7674.