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Important information for all patients

Please read prior to admission

Videofluoroscopic Swallowing Studies- An instrumental assessment of swallowing

Your Speech Pathologist has recommended a Videofluoroscopic Swallow Study to further investigate your swallowing function. 

A VFSS may be indicated for a number of reasons, including: 

  • Identification or highlighting of characteristics suspicious of dysphagia. 
  • More information is required to diagnose the swallowing difficulty, determine the cause and recommend exercises or strategies to improve the swallow. 

What is a Videofluoroscopic Swallow Study (VFSS)?

VFSS is an X-Ray of swallowing and is known as the ‘gold standard’ for the assessment of oralpharyngeal dysphagia. It is a moving X-Ray picture that shows the movements of your mouth and throat during swallowing. It allows the Speech Pathologist to clearly see how food/fluid passes through the throat and whether food/fluid enters the airway/lungs. 

The aim of the study is to:

  • Obtain objective information regarding swallowing structures and how they move.
  • Determine swallow safety and efficiency – whether any food/fluid enters the lungs.
  • Identify compensatory strategies. 
  • Determine the appropriate diet and fluids.
  • Assist in the planning of dysphagia exercises/ rehabilitation (if required).
  • Assist in identifying the cause (particularly if swallow presentation is not explained by clinical examination).

What happens when you have a VFSS?

  • A Radiographer and a Speech Pathologist will be present for the X-Ray.
  • As instructed by the Speech Pathologist, you will be asked to eat and drink while the X-Ray is being recorded. Multiple pictures will be taken at a time and will be played back like a video. 
  • A contrast will be mixed into a variety of appropriate drinks and/or food so that it can be clearly seen in the X-Ray image.
  • The contrast products used at SVPHT are Omnipaque & Barium.
  • No need to fast for the study.
  • The procedure is recorded so that it can be analysed, the Speech Pathologist will be able to discuss some preliminary results with you after the study.
  • It is expected the procedure will take at least 30 minutes.
  • Some private health insurers do not cover the entire fee charged by QLD X-Ray. Please ask your Speech Pathologist if there will be an out of pocket expense.

For more information:

  • Contact a Speech Pathologist
  • Talk to your doctor

For further information please contact: 

St Vincent's Private Hospital Toowoomba Speech Pathology Service 

Telephone (07) 4690 4052  

What is a Videofluoroscopic Swallow Study (VFSS)?

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