Solid bolus swallowing in the radiologic evaluation of dysphagia

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Patients with dysphagia, heartburn and chest pain are regularly referred for radiologic evaluation of swallowing. The liquid barium swallow has been of great value for the biphasic evaluation of the pharynx and esophagus. Though many patients complain of dysphagia specifically for solids, solid bolus swallow is usually not part of the evaluation. For the present study we therefore included the use of a solid bolus with a diameter of 13 mm and interviewed the patients carefully for any symptoms during this tablet swallow. Of 200 patients examined, the tablet passed through the esophagus without delay in 102. In the 98 patients with delayed passage, the solid bolus arrest occurred in the pharynx in 5 and in the esophagus in 93. Arrest in the esophagus was due to esophageal dysmotility in 48 patients. Twenty of these were symptomatic during the tablet swallow. A narrowing was the cause in 45, of whom 9 had symptoms. In 18 patients (9%) the solid bolus added key information to the radiologic evaluation. We therefore recommend that the solid bolus is included in the routine radiologic work-up of patients with dysphagia. Careful attention to symptoms during the tablet swallow is important.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)372-375
Number of pages4
JournalActa Radiologica
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1993

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Radiology, Nuclear Medicine and Medical Imaging


  • abnormalities
  • Deglutination disorders
  • esophagus
  • function
  • pharynx
  • radiography


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