Swallow Test

English: Question marks with transparent backg...

I received a phone call earlier today. A staff member was letting me know that the appointment for Al’s swallow test is January 25, 9:30 am. She said for me to meet her and Al at the hospital.

I said thank-you and hung up. I jotted down the time and then I sat here wondering why the hospital? What kind of test is this? What are they going to do to him that he has to go to the hospital?

Does anyone know what is going to happen during this test? Will Al feel any discomfort?

47 thoughts on “Swallow Test

  1. I think it’s likely as ‘behindthemask’ said…They will watch him swallow different things and see what happens…how long it takes or if he can’t at all..etc. I had a similar test done re my M.S. because swallowing is sometimes difficult.. At least I suspect that’s what it is….Diane


  2. Terry, don’t worry now … you can’t do anything about it – even if it’s not going to be maybe so pleasant for Al. Deal with that when it comes … you can’t change the test anyhow. So come down and relax.


  3. i had this test before and it is not painful or even uncomfortable. it is swallowing a thick tasteless goo, you have to swallow as they are taking the xrays. mine was at the hospital and that just may be the best place to do it and not due to danger. he may have trouble being co-operative but they will work with him.


  4. I had a swallow test when I was in the hospital after my stroke. It’s to make sure that he can, in fact, swallow. It’s not unpleasant: all they do is take x-rays of you chewing and swallowing a cracker.


  5. Hi, there. It depends. There are a few different ones that can be done. There’s an esophageal reflux test. This is where they take a thin tube with a sensor at the end, and they have you swallow water during the test. The tube goes up the nose into the stomach. It is a much more accurate test because they can tell if any part of your esophagus has stopped working.

    I’ve had that done, and it wasn’t the most pleasant, but it was accurate. It showed that my motility was only normal 80% of the time (and that was before I had the brain injury).

    I’ve also had the swallow test, and frankly, I think it’s a joke. The mix barium with something like oatmeal, applesauce, etc and you eat/drink the different things while they watch you swallow.

    If you’re like me, your symptoms may not be present 100% of the time. Sometimes, I have no issues at all with swallowing. Other time, I have troubles swallowing water. For me, it is a neurological issues and I will lack the coordination with controlling the muscles used for swallowing. (Sometimes, i also have issues walking or talking, etc. There is no rhyme or reason to it. It just happens, and I can’t control or trigger it.) If this is what you experience, then the swallowing test is a joke.

    It showed no abnormalities at all (and that was after I had the brain injury and developed more significant swallowing issues).

    I would recommend getting the esophageal motility test done vs just the basic swallowing test because it is more accurate, but also more uncomfortable. (However, I think I was more sensitive to that test because I have a very sensitive gag reflux and when they spray the numbing stuff in my nose or back of my throat, I have a tendency to gag)

    Hope that helps.


    • hi there. I could tell even as I began to read that you had been through this experience. my brother has Parkinson’s Disease and has been having trouble swallowing and some choking issues. They are going to see if he has a problem by doing one of the two tests you described. he will not be a good patient. he doesn’t do well during any test due to his mentality. my brother complains off and on about something being stuck in his throat. you are right though, it is not all of the time and this could ruin the test results when on a different time it would definitely show. thank you so much for this very valuable comment………


  6. We had a neighbor years ago who was having trouble swallowing and they did a procedure to stretch her esophagus so she didn’t choke so easily. I don’t know if they would do that with Al or if it would even help. It would depend on the actual cause of the problem – a narrowed esophagus or just that the nervous system or muscles are faulty because of the Parkinson’s. I hope they will be able to help Al in some way whether doing this or pureeing his food.


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