Radiation exposure time during MBSS: influence of swallowing impairment severity, medical diagnosis, clinician experience, and standardized protocol use

Dysphagia. 2013 Mar;28(1):77-85. doi: 10.1007/s00455-012-9415-z. Epub 2012 Jun 13.


Guidelines and preventive measures have been established to limit radiation exposure time during modified barium swallow studies (MBSS) but multiple variables may influence the duration of the exam. This study examined the influence of clinician experience, medical diagnosis category, swallowing impairment severity, and use of a standardized protocol on fluoroscopy time. A retrospective review of 739 MBSSs performed on 612 patients (342 males/270 females; age range = 18-96 years) completed in 1 year at the Medical University of South Carolina was performed with IRB approval. All studies were completed by speech-language pathologists trained in the data collection protocol, interpretation, and scoring of the MBSImP™(©). Medical diagnosis category, swallowing impairment severity (MBSImP™(©) score), clinician experience, and fluoroscopy time were the variables recorded for analysis. Fluoroscopy time was not significantly associated with medical diagnosis category (p = 0.10). The severity of the MBSImP™(©) Oral Total and Pharyngeal Total resulted in statistically significant increases in fluoroscopy time (p < 0.05). Studies by novice clinicians had longer exposure times when compared to those of experienced clinicians (p = 0.037). Average radiation exposure time using the MBSImP™(©) approach was 2.9 min, with a 95 % confidence interval of 2.8-3.0 min, which was well within the range of exposure times reported in the literature. This study provides preliminary information regarding the impact of medical diagnosis category, swallowing impairment severity, and clinician experience on fluoroscopy time. These findings also suggest that a thorough, standardized protocol for MBSSs did not cause unnecessary radiation exposure time during the MBSS.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Barium Sulfate
  • Clinical Competence
  • Clinical Protocols / standards
  • Contrast Media
  • Deglutition Disorders / diagnosis
  • Deglutition Disorders / diagnostic imaging*
  • Deglutition Disorders / etiology
  • Female
  • Fluoroscopy
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Radiation Dosage*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Time Factors
  • Young Adult


  • Contrast Media
  • Barium Sulfate