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How to use the videofluoroscopy swallow study in paediatric practice
  1. Gemma Batchelor1,
  2. Ben McNaughten1,
  3. Thomas Bourke1,2,
  4. Julie Dick1,
  5. Claire Leonard1,
  6. Andrew Thompson1
  1. 1 Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children, Belfast, UK
  2. 2 Centre for Medical Education, Queen’s University Belfast, Belfast, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Gemma Batchelor, Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children, Belfast BT12 6BA, UK; g.batchelor{at}


In paediatric practice feeding, eating, drinking and swallowing difficulties are present in up to 1% of children. Dysphagia is any disruption to the swallow sequence that results in compromise to the safety, efficiency or adequacy of nutritional intake. Swallowing difficulties may lead to pharyngeal aspiration, respiratory compromise or poor nutritional intake. It causes sensory and motor dysfunction impacting on a child’s ability to experience normal feeding. Incoordination can result in oral pharyngeal aspiration where fluid or food is misdirected and enters the airway, or choking where food physically blocks the airway The incidence is much higher in some clinical populations, including children with neuromuscular disease, traumatic brain injury and airway malformations. The prevalence of dysphagia and aspiration-related disease is increasing secondary to the better survival of children with highly complex medical and surgical needs. This article aims to outline the indications for performing videofluoroscopy swallow (VFS). This includes the technical aspects of the study, how to interrupt a VFS report and some of the limitations to the study.

  • imaging
  • general paediatrics
  • aspiration
  • dysphagia
  • videofluroscopy

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  • Contributors GB and JD wrote the initial draft, and was reviewed and edited by BM, TB, CL and AT. All authors agreed on the final draft prior to submission.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent Not required.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; externally peer reviewed.