Swallow Studies

Pediatric swallow studies—which are called oral pharyngeal motility studies (OPMS)—help us to accurately diagnose a child’s swallowing disorder and identify the best treatment methods to meet his or her needs.

Our highly trained speech-language pathologists work with the radiology team to use dynamic digital X-rays that allow us to get an up-close look at how your child swallows.

We are able to more clearly see any complications your child has during swallowing, such as food going into the lungs instead of the stomach (which may not cause them to cough—known as silent aspiration), food or liquid residue, and reflux.

Who is a candidate for a swallow study

Some signs that your child has a swallowing disorder that may require a swallow study to diagnose include:

  • Frequent upper respiratory symptoms or illnesses, including asthma, wheezing or infections
  • Poor weight gain or failure to thrive
  • Limited variety in diet for age
  • Food aversion or refusal
  • Coughing, choking or congestion with meals
  • Gagging or vomiting with meals
  • Excessive length of meals

What to expect during a swallow study

The swallow study includes two parts: a feeding evaluation and a video X-ray. Parents bring a full meal with the child's own feeding utensils.

During the feeding evaluation, your child will swallow different liquids and solids (depending on age and tolerance level). We will observe the oral and pharyngeal (part of the throat) phase of swallowing, and monitor for any overt signs of swallowing issues during a typical meal.

During the video X-ray, your child will swallow small amounts of food or drink in varying consistencies that have been infused with barium, which allows us to see it on the X-ray, and observe any internal issues your child may have during swallowing.


Pediatric swallow studies are offered at:

Johns Hopkins All Children's
Child Development and Rehabilitation Center
880 6th Street South,
St. Petersburg, FL 33701

Contact us

To make an appointment for a swallow study, call us at 727-767-4141.

You can also request an appointment online using our online form.

Medical records may be faxed to 727-767-6743. A physician's prescription is required for a pediatric swallow study.