A protocol for the videofluorographic swallowing study

Jeffrey B. Palmer, Keith V. Kuhlemeier, Donna C. Tippett, C. Lynch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

120 Scopus citations


This paper presents a detailed protocol for performing the videofluorographic swallowing study (VFSS), and describes how it evolved from its antecedents. The objectives of the VFSS are both diagnostic and therapeutic. Preparing for the VFSS is described, including the equipment, food preparation, and a brief discussion of the clinical evaluation. The detailed description of the VFSS procedure covers the position of the patient, the foods presented, the views obtained, modifications of feeding and swallowing that are commonly employed, the standardized set of observations, and reporting the results. Criteria for deviating from the protocol or aborting the study are presented. The VFSS does not necessarily end when a patient aspirates. Indeed, the complete evaluation of aspiration, and the effects of maneuvers designed to reduce it, is a major purpose of the VFSS. Modifications of feeding and swallowing are tested empirically during the study. The modifications include therapeutic and compensatory techniques that may improve the safety and efficiency of swallowing. A rationale for deciding which modifications to test in a given patient is discussed. The protocol has been used successfully in more than 350 patients. It has improved the efficiency and quality of our videofluorographic examinations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)209-214
Number of pages6
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 1993


  • Aspiration
  • Deglutition
  • Deglutition disorders
  • Radiology
  • Rehabilitation
  • Videofluoroscopy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology
  • Gastroenterology
  • Speech and Hearing


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