Ten Questions About Barium Esophagography and Dysphagia

Gastroenterol Clin North Am. 2018 Sep;47(3):449-473. doi: 10.1016/j.gtc.2018.04.001. Epub 2018 Jul 7.


The barium esophagogram is a global test for patients with dysphagia that can simultaneously detect morphologic abnormalities in the pharynx and esophagus, pharyngeal swallowing dysfunction, esophageal dysmotility, and gastroesophageal reflux. The barium esophagram is an inexpensive, noninvasive, and widely available procedure that can serve as the initial diagnostic test for dysphagia and facilitate selection of other diagnostic studies such as endoscopy. This article addresses 10 questions about barium esophagography and dysphagia that should help gastroenterologists gain a better perspective about the utility of barium studies in this clinical setting.

Keywords: Barium esophagram; Dysphagia; Modified esophagram; Odynophagia; Technique of examination.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Barium Sulfate / administration & dosage
  • Deglutition Disorders / diagnostic imaging*
  • Deglutition Disorders / etiology
  • Diagnostic Techniques, Digestive System*
  • Esophagus / diagnostic imaging*
  • Humans


  • Barium Sulfate