Videoendoscopic evaluation of patients with dysphagia: an adjunct to the modified barium swallow

Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 1991 Mar;104(3):339-50. doi: 10.1177/019459989110400309.


The modified barium swallow is currently the most comprehensive, widely available, and easily interpreted technique for the evaluation of patients with dysphagia by the head and neck surgeon. However, it requires the facilities, personnel, and use of a radiology suite, a trained speech pathologist, and exposure of the patient to radiation. It would therefore be helpful to have an adjunctive, physician based, nonradiographic method of examination that could provide information similar to and possibly even more complete than that supplied by the modified barium swallow. Such an adjunctive method could help otolaryngologist-head and neck surgeons confronted by a new patient with swallowing difficulties to orient themselves to the nature and severity of the problem while waiting for the modified barium swallow to be scheduled, performed, and reviewed. It could also be a helpful tool for management of patients with cancer of the head and neck, whose swallowing function may change rapidly in the early postoperative period. In such cases, intervals between modified barium swallow examinations (dictated by concern over radiation exposure) may be too far apart to allow up-to-the-minute decisions on case management. Finally, some patients who may be too ill to travel to the radiology suite might benefit from a bedside procedure that would yield information about swallowing function similar to that provided by the modified barium swallow. Videoendoscopic evaluation of dysphagia (VEED) is a protocol I developed and have used regularly since 1984. Experience with this method of dysphagia evaluation has shown that it answers the needs outlined above. Its usefulness also goes beyond that of the modified barium swallow by providing a more detailed understanding of the component anatomic and functional deficits that comprise a given patient's swallowing problem, information about upper aerodigestive tract sensory deficits, and a means for visual feedback training of pharyngeal and laryngeal musculature. The protocol is reviewed here. Case reports illustrating the clinical usefulness of VEED as an adjunct to the modified barium swallow are also presented, and the relative strengths and weaknesses of VEED and the modified barium swallow are compared.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Barium Sulfate*
  • Deglutition / physiology*
  • Deglutition Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Deglutition Disorders / physiopathology
  • Deglutition Disorders / therapy
  • Feedback
  • Fiber Optic Technology / instrumentation
  • Food
  • Humans
  • Laryngoscopes
  • Laryngoscopy / methods*
  • Larynx / physiopathology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Palate / physiopathology
  • Pharynx / physiopathology
  • Physical Therapy Modalities
  • Sensation / physiology
  • Video Recording* / instrumentation
  • Water


  • Water
  • Barium Sulfate