Must a Radiologist Be Present During a Videofluoroscopic Swallowing Study? The videofluoroscopic swallow study (VFSS) is currently the most widely used procedure for the management of patients with oropharyngeal dysphagia. The primary purposes of the procedure are to assess oral, pharyngeal, laryngeal, and cervical esophageal swallow dynamics and examine the impact of compensatory swallowing strategies on function. Martin-Harris, Logemann, ... Article
Article  |   October 01, 2004
Must a Radiologist Be Present During a Videofluoroscopic Swallowing Study?
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Amy Hasselkus
    ASHA
  • Mark L. Kander
    ASHA
  • Paula A. Sullivan
    William S. Middleton Memorial Veterans Hospital, Madison, WI
Article Information
Swallowing, Dysphagia & Feeding Disorders / Articles
Article   |   October 01, 2004
Must a Radiologist Be Present During a Videofluoroscopic Swallowing Study?
SIG 13 Perspectives on Swallowing and Swallowing Disorders (Dysphagia), October 2004, Vol. 13, 14-17. doi:10.1044/sasd13.3.14
SIG 13 Perspectives on Swallowing and Swallowing Disorders (Dysphagia), October 2004, Vol. 13, 14-17. doi:10.1044/sasd13.3.14
The videofluoroscopic swallow study (VFSS) is currently the most widely used procedure for the management of patients with oropharyngeal dysphagia. The primary purposes of the procedure are to assess oral, pharyngeal, laryngeal, and cervical esophageal swallow dynamics and examine the impact of compensatory swallowing strategies on function. Martin-Harris, Logemann, McMahon, Schleicher, and Sandidge (2000)  demonstrated that the procedure can play a powerful role in patient management by providing immediate and clinically relevant information critical to the development of the dysphagic patient’s plan of care, including referrals to other specialties, mode of intake change, and diet grade change. Other investigators have demonstrated the value of the VFSS in reducing the cost of care and speeding recovery (Logemann, 1997) and in guiding treatment planning (Wright & Jordan, 1997). Although the procedure is used primarily for evaluation of swallowing function, structural abnormalities often are revealed and may be the cause of the swallowing dysfunction. Currently, most VFSS are performed in an environment with both a speech-language pathologist and radiologist present. The speech-language pathologist focuses on swallowing physiology and functioning, and the radiologist makes medical diagnoses relative to anatomy. This collaboration provides a comprehensive assessment of swallowing as it relates to both physiology and anatomy and ensures better probability of an accurate diagnosis and positive outcome.
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