1225331 tn?1333365769

Dyspagia - Video Swallow Test?

Howdy, Alright, maybe the comment I made on the "What's happening this week" dicussion may have been wrong when I said that seeing my neuro once a month is a "bit over-kill".  :-)

I saw her yesterday and she thinks I have dysphagia - problems with nerves/muscles coordinating swallowing. I didn't think it would be related to MS but I thought I would bring it up to her since I choke at least 2-3 times a day. Now I'm signed up at the hospital for a video swallow test. Anyone ever have the swallow test before or have dysphagia?

21 Responses
1580434 tn?1378596528
Awe heck Kelly that's one test my neurologist is thinking I need. She is going to send me to a speech pathologist. I do remember someone on here talking about it. So I'm no help but will be interested in what others share.
Avatar universal
keep us posted, am sure interested in the details, I often do the same thing
875426 tn?1325528416
I sometimes have had issues with swallowing, but nothing at all major and no dysphagia diagnosed.

Please don't read below (which I don't think is the same exact test as what you are talking about anyway) if you are squeamish - better off to be surprised and perhaps pleasantly so.

I don't think there was a camera involved, but I did have an esophageal manometry test, which was rough going.  I hope your test will not be quite as grueling.  I wasn't supposed to talk (hard to keep me quiet when I'm nervous).  I had to keep doing swallows- some with liquid, some without (called dry swallows).  

The worst part was when they were bringing up the tube very slowly (hopefully they won't have that in your kind of test), measuring things at each little level when they got to the part where my gag reflex went into hyperdrive.  I was fasting (other than the small amount of liquid), and not vomitting, but still not pleasant.  I felt like something was caught I think in my lungs for less than an hour afterward, but as I was still fasting for an EGD with Bravo capsule I was going to have done, so I couldn't drink anything to try to soothe the discomfort.
Avatar universal
Hi I have dysphagia and if it's a barium swallow it's not that bad they have youdrinksome chalky stuff while stand in front of a xray machine then they give you a cookie coated with barium and watch how you swallow it if it gets stuck they will see it. It takes about 30 minutes ancient a speech therapist Is present and they should give you some answers. Food gets stuck on my right side due to weakness and the ms I was told this is a neurological problem then misdiagnosed with ms 2 months later. I go to therapy and have LearNed techniques to help I turn myriad to the right and chin down it does help but not ideal in public . Best of luck if you need more info just ask

Avatar universal
I too have trouble swallowing, in fact it one was one of my first symptoms.  I had a swallow test, which was exactly what Kat described.  I then had a procedure where they opened up my esphagus slightly.  Then they prescribed 5 different PPI's.  nothing made it better. It lasted @ 4 months.  I lost 20lbs.   Then it went away or a while.  It's back again, with a newer symptom.  I feel just plain awful if food does go down and I throw it back up.  I see the guy who did the opening of my esphagus in January. I am not expecting much
1225331 tn?1333365769
My mom's twin sister has achalasia. I guess that's something somwhat similar, but much more rare. At first they thought she had dysphagia.  One of her tests involved sticking something up her nose and then down into her esophogus. She said it wasn't fun.  Autoimmune disorders run rampant in my family.  

I just wonder since it's called a video swallow test - if there's a camera involved instead of an x-ray? Maybe I can call the hospital to see what they actually do.

A lot of times now I get nervous eating or taking my pills. I think I'm going to choke.  When I get that panicked look on my face, they know that I'm choking.  Then when we're eating out in public, it's embarassing having to reach into the back of my mouth to try to grab food that's stuck in my throat choking me or trying to go down whole instead of being chewed up.  :-(

My appt isn't until Jan 8th.  
987762 tn?1331027953
Hey babe,

I am very reluctant to go down the testing route, i'm not chicken or anything lol  it's mainly because I cant find anything that changes the reality of if. Sure we can be proactive and change the way we eat, what we eat etc but apart from tips and tricks, (which i do anyway) I just don't think knowing the extent of it is going to do 'my' head-space any good :o)

Lol so i'm already a can't talk properly any more person, and as time has moved on, I've become a can't talk if I am expecting to be able to eat  person. It use to be an issue i had when my speech was off again, and the fatigue was bad, just thinking i was just too tired to chew and swallow.

I know for me its all interconnected, speech, chewing, swallowing, gag reflex. I dont chock as much as I did now i'm incorporating the tricks but getting food to move so i can swallow or once its actually gone down to then get my throat muscles to open up again, is now starting to happen so i'm in need of a few more tricks. lol there's a noticeable delay and the more i try to work with it the worse it gets, lol sort of the same as any repetition I do seems to make things worse.

Lets us know what ends up happening!

1225331 tn?1333365769
I'll definitely check back in and say how everything went for my video swallow test.
572651 tn?1530999357
I have had that test, too and you describe it accurately.  But like everything else we go through with the poking and prodding, it is over pretty quick.  :-)
Avatar universal
I'm with JJ, not too much they can do and I'm also the super chicken when it comes to uncomfortable testing!  When I had my angiogram and they said I wouldn't remember (HA), I said I'm swear off of horrible testing!
1225331 tn?1333365769
Wait, Lulu - do you mean that the video swallow test is the one that they put a tube up your nose and down your throat like my aunt had?

My grandma always says, "Don't borrow trouble." So, maybe I should just wait and be surprised when I go in for the procedure.  :-/
Avatar universal
For what it's worth the next test they would do on me would be the one with the tube in the nose.  I'm going to pass for now
I really don't see the point
1045086 tn?1332126422
Hey Kelly.  Don't overstress about the test.  Here's a good explanation of what you are in for.


Go ahead - take a look - Nothing too scary.  Basically fluoroscopic (x-ray) movies are taken as you send less than tasty cookies 'n milk down the hatch.

I think this is a test well worth having because it can help pinpoint your exact problem(s).  Then a speech therapist (who could be present during the test or watch the digital video afterwards) can design specific directions or exercises to help you.  Eating more comfortably while decreasing the potential danger for aspiration and infection triggered flares is a good pay-off in my opinion.

That esophageal manometry test is a bummer but its for looking further down your food tube to see how well the esophagus is pushing food along AFTER the swallow.  I doubt it's the one you're scheduled for.
1225331 tn?1333365769
Thanks Mary, I just went and read the info on the link you posted. It doesn't sound too scary.  I had read about a fluoroscope, and began to think of actually being scoped for it.

You're right, in the case of my aunt, she had both problems.  In fact, she was instructed to fast (which she did) and the doctor came in and yelled at her for not fasting.  She told him that she did fast.  Apparently, even after 12 hrs or so, she still had food in her esophogus - which led them down the achalasia trail.

Thanks everyone for your insights. :-)
875426 tn?1325528416
I've had a barium swallow before that looks at how well I swallow-where they take x-rays.  I had to drink a little barium drink, but I also got to eat some hospital cafeteria foods of different textures with barium sprinkled on top to see how well I swallowed different things.  That test was a breeze!
620048 tn?1358018235
The test is not bad at all, I have had all kinds of problems with swallowing. I have been taught how to eat too. They all end up telling me the same things I already know.

Eat slowly, sitting up, no talking....also, take your pills with applesauce, this really helps.  Drink water in sips, no gulping.  Its hard to remember all of it at the moment.

But it can cause lung infections, it caused me aspiration pneumonia earlier this year and it lasted 5 months and I was in the hospital 3-4 days with it.  So be careful because it can cause aspiration pneumoniia which is no fun at all.

Wish my memory was better....sorry !

1225331 tn?1333365769
I guess we'll see wha they have to say when I go to my testing in Jan.

My neuro had already suggested that I keep my chin more tucked in when eating and drinking. I'm also a hard drinker (no - not alcohol ;-)). When I take a drink, my swallows are hard and loud. I try to be quiet and drink like a normal person, but it's really difficult.
And when I take my pills, I notice for me it's more difficult for me to swallow my pills if the water is ice cold.  It seems to make my muscles or throat tighter or something.

Thanks again everyone.
875426 tn?1325528416
You're welcome!

  I heard a long time ago about how ice cold water is hard on the system, so I like to drink room temperature water and when eating out, typically order water without ice.  I can swallow very noisily also and tend to chug-a-lug down water.   I do hope the test goes well and the outcome is a positive one!
1225331 tn?1333365769
As promised, I said that I would return with my results.
The video swallow test this morning showed  that, yes, I am choking when I eat.  The radiologist said something about spirting when I drink. Not sure what that means. And then when I eat, food gets stuck in the back of my throat.

Apparently, I have reduced hyolaryngeal excursion, which doesn't allow the food to go down properly. Then I'm also left with residual in my valleulae (sp?).

What's next is I have to go to vitalstim therapy twice a week to try to make my throat muscles stronger, but not sure how that works with the neuromuscular part of all if this. The speech pathologist said, that, unfortunately with MS this swallowing issue is just going to get worse.
739070 tn?1338603402
So sorry to hear that your results were postitive. Mine several years ago were borderline, now I think if retested they would show definite problems as my swallowing issues have progressed with the past 2 relapses.

I was shown "tricks and tips" by the speech pathologist while inpatient and it has helped.

I hope that your therapy improves your swallowing issues! You've been through so much1

Sending healing hugs,
1225331 tn?1333365769
Thanks Ren.  I hope the therapy helps too - so I can stop choking. Hoping that it's not going to be too expensive....
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