How Is Dysphagia Diagnosed?
A physician or healthcare provider will examine your child and obtain a medical history. You will be asked questions about how your child eats and any problems you notice during feeding. Imaging tests may also be done to evaluate the mouth, throat, and esophagus. These tests can include:
Oral-Pharyngeal Video Swallow
Your child is given small amounts of a liquid containing barium to drink with a bottle, spoon or cup, or spoon fed a solid food containing barium. Barium shows up well on x-ray. A series of x-rays are taken to evaluate what happens as your child swallows the liquid.
Barium Swallow/Upper GI Series
Your child is given a liquid containing barium (a metallic, chemical, chalky, liquid used to coat the inside of organs so that they will show up on an x-ray) to drink, and a series of x-rays are taken. The physician can watch what happens as your child swallows the fluid, and note any problems that may occur in the throat, the esophagus or the stomach.
A test that uses a small, flexible tube with a light and a camera lens at the end (endoscope) to examine the inside of part of the digestive tract. Under anesthesia, an endoscopy is performed. Pictures are taken of the inside of the throat, the esophagus and the stomach to look for abnormalities. Small tissue samples, called biopsies, can also be taken to look for problems.
Other tests that may be performed to evaluate dysphagia include the following:
Under sedation, a small tube containing a pressure gauge is guided through your child's mouth and into the esophagus. The pressure inside the esophagus is then measured to evaluate the esophageal motility.
Under anesthesia, a physician places a tube into your child's throat and looks through it for narrowed areas and other problems.