Barium x-ray


A safe and rapid test that reveals early and subtle changes in both structure and function in all aspects of swallowing

Enquiries & Appointments

Man drinking a cup of coffee 1475437767.jpg

What is a barium swallow test and what is it for?

A barium swallow test is an examination of your food pipe (oesophagus). This is the tube between your mouth and stomach.

During the test you will be asked to drink a liquid (barium) to see what happens when you swallow. You may also be asked to eat some bread or marshmallows soaked in barium.

Need to know

The procedure will be performed by a radiologist. You will be asked to change into a hospital gown before being taken into the examination room. You will be told to stand on a small platform and asked to drink a liquid (barium) that is visible on X-rays.

Whilst you drink the liquid X-rays will be taken. Most people drink a thick liquid but sometimes a thinner liquid is used. The platform will then be tilted so you are lying down and more images taken. You may be asked to lie on your front and drink some more liquid. When enough pictures have been taken the examination is over.

You should not eat or drink for four hours before a barium swallow test. If you need to take regular medication during this time speak to your consultant.
You will be able to return to your normal activities immediately following the procedure. It is important to drink plenty of fluids to help flush the liquid out of your system. Your stools may be pale in colour for a short time due to the barium.

Our Barium x-ray locations

The Princess Grace Hospital

The Princess Grace Hospital

42-52 Nottingham Place W1U 5NY London
The Shard Outpatients

The Shard Outpatients

The Shard, 32 St Thomas Street SE1 9BS London
London Bridge Hospital

London Bridge Hospital

27 Tooley Street SE1 2PR London