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Influence of barium (Steele et al., 2022)

posted on 2022-08-31, 23:12 authored by Catriona M. Steele, Emily Barrett, Melanie Peladeau-Pigeon

Purpose: Prior studies suggest there may be differences in videofluoroscopic measures of swallowing across different barium concentrations. Whether different barium products of identical concentration result in similar swallowing physiology remains unknown. This is important, as barium intended for videofluoroscopy (i.e., Bracco Varibar) is not available globally. Our aim was to identify differences in healthy swallowing across five different barium stimuli.

Method: Twenty healthy adults (10 women), aged 22–54 years, underwent videofluoroscopy including comfortable sips of thin liquid barium: two sips of 20% weight-to-volume (w/v) barium prepared with E-Z-HD powder, and two sips each of 20%w/v and 40%w/v barium prepared with Liquid Polibar Plus and E-Z-Paque powder. Recordings were analyzed according to the Analysis of Swallowing Physiology: Events, Kinematics and Timing Method. Measures of timing, kinematics and residue were obtained. Chi-square, Friedman’s, and Wilcoxon signed-ranks test were used to identify differences across stimuli. 

Results: Significant differences were seen across barium stimuli for upper esophageal sphincter (UES) opening duration, UES diameter, pharyngeal area at maximum constriction, and residue. In all cases, smaller values were seen with the 20%w/v E-Z-HD stimulus; however, this stimulus had questionable opacity for visualization. Patterns of residue severity were not explained by barium concentration.

Conclusions: This study confirms that some measures of swallowing are influenced by barium product and/or concentration. Measures are not necessarily similar across different barium products at the same concentration. This study illustrates the importance of using standard and appropriate stimuli in videofluoroscopy, and for clinicians to report not only the product but also the concentration of stimuli used.

Supplemental Material S1. Videofluoroscopy task orders. 

Supplemental Material S2. Descriptive statistics for quantitative videofluoroscopic measures by barium stimulus.

Steele, C. M., Barrett, E., & Peladeau-Pigeon, M. (2022). Which videofluoroscopy parameters are susceptible to the influence of differences in barium product and concentration? American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology. Advance online publication.


Funding for this project was provided through an R01 Grant (DC011020) to the first author.