25 answers

Anyone Have a Child Go Through a Swallow Study with Barrium?

Son is 6 months and does nothing but projectile vomit all day! It hasn't hurt his weight at all, thank God, 20 pounds already! He was making what I thought were cute growly noises when he 'talked' that his doc said was not normal. Called it a huge long name and said it's referred to as lazy larynx. Something about one side of larynx does not fully close, usually they grow out of it. Was noticed at his 4 mo. check up and said was not a concern. Now that he makes the 'noise' all the time, they are concerned that his throat is irritated and he is trying to clear the irritation by talking.

We are calling for appt at ENT on Monday morning- not supposed to allow him to lay flat, taking Zantac (not happy about med that masks a symptom, but we have to get him some relief, asap.) Doc also wants me to pump and thicken milk with rice cereal so it is less likely to be aspirated, but he been spitting less over the last two days since stopping cereal last Sunday (on rec. of another mamasource answer about reflux being about alkaline vs. acidic foods- thanks!).

What would you do? Thicken with formula which he does tolerate but will add to constipation (only poos every 5 days anyway)?

Any insight to a barium swallow with an infant would be great. Hate that he has to have such aweful chemicals for a test, but we have to have answers. Alternatives? None were offered at the doc.

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

Wow- thanks for all the great advice! I have decided to go the natural route. We are still going to have the swallow study done, waiting on the doc offices to call back. In the mean time, I am still going to nurse. I do pump in the mornings, but I lose so much volume with pumping that I am not willing to try to pump exclusively at this time. Several things he does are even pointing me away from agreeing with docs diagnosis of laryngomalacia. I'm sure he would love to be proven wrong as he loves my kids.

We are also looking at chiropractic care for him. Looking for the right person in the Carrollton/Plano area if you have suggestions for one that specializes in pediatric care.

Modifying my diet seems very reasonable, too. He's only 6 months, so he does not need to be on solids yet, either. Since he is doing so much better without the cereals, we are considering allergy testing for him, too. Nothing points to a need to push solids right now - so we'll wait!

Life is not perfect, still looking for answers, had a scare over the weekend with a painful cry (learned about supository tylenol!). Yet, God is good, life is sacred and blessed. No need to give up hope - He still cares about all of us through even the most difficult of circumstances.

Thanks again for every piece of advice and well wishes. It was fun to go to your pages and see what else you've commented on, too! What a great place for all of us to benefit from the experience of others! Anyone interested in my area of 'expertise' of surviving and preventing cancer in my kids, please check out my other writings before this Saturday.


Featured Answers

My son had the same problem, and we had a hard time finding a day care provider due to all the barfing. The Dr's. were also not concerned due to him gaining weight. They said the same thing about a "flap" not bieng fully closed/grown yet.
He outgrew it, at about 6 1/2 months. If I recall (this was about 15 years ago) adding cereal to the milk did help a bit. I think my kids were eating babyfood so I had added prunes or other food and there was no constipation. Matter of fact both my kids had this problem, and both by about 6 months outgrew it...hopefully that is the case for you to - hang in there.

1 mom found this helpful

My grandson had a barium swallow study done when he was in NICU. I can't tell you much about it, but it was for reflux also. He uses formula with rice in it too all the time. I do know that the barium itself didn't affect his poo or his disposition, he just drank it in a regular bottle.

Can you give him some apple juice or something similar to try to help with his constipation?

1 mom found this helpful

More Answers

My daughter was 10 months old when she had her swallow study with barium. She tolerated it quite well. My only caution would be the possible recommendation afterwards. The therapist finished and told us that we should put a g-tube in our daughter immediately. When I asked what would happen if we did not, she said our daughter would get pneumonia and die. Of course this was NOT what we were expecting to hear. Our daughter was thriving and was eating fine. I was actually set to deliver our second child two days after hearing this. I was very blessed to have previously worked for a doctor who called other specialists for me about the recommendation. We were told by several pediatric specialists (doctors) that we should NOT do the g-tube since she was thriving just fine. Therefore, we used thicken up to "thicken up" her liquid intake. You can find this at Walgreens, etc. She was on this for about a year and took Prevacid as well. She eventually grew out of the aspirating issue. She is a happy, healthy 6 year old now. Please just be cautious with any drastic recommendations. The person we had was a speech therapist/pathologist from Cooks. This was the only bad experience we have had at Cooks. We love Cooks and all the people there except for this lady. I just did not want to tarnish Cooks' good name, but I wanted to let you know where we had it done. I hope everything goes well for your little one and that you have peace through it all.

1 mom found this helpful

My son, now 21 months, has gone through 3 swallow studies: one in the NICU (failed and was on thick-it and Zantac as well) the 2nd one 3 months later--he passed--and the third at 18 months old for a complete upper and lower GI. None of the 3 bothered him and he actually had "fun" during the test due to the attention being given to him. Nothing was noxious and the barium is as safe as anything else in this world!

1 mom found this helpful

I have a ton of advice for you. :-)
My daughter, E, is a micro-preemie (born at 1#, 5 mos early), so she has had 2 barium swallow studies so far, and we are going for our third here in March. They are NO BIG DEAL. So don't worry over them. It will be okay. The worse thing about them is they want her hungry, so she was, very! So a little fussy. But it shouldn't hurt him, or bother him.
E was aspirating since birth on everything, so we thickend her breastmilk with thickner. Even then, she had the vomiting issue like your son. We have used "Simply Thick" gel thickner in the past and are now using "HydraAid" gel. They are both great, but the packets are easier to empty with HydraAid. E is on Medicaid so we do not pay for it, but your insurance may cover it, if the swallow study deems it Rx. If not, it is about $30 a jar and that will last you almost all month, longer if you are on 'nectar-like' thickness or thinner.
At her 2nd study, done in Oct, when she was 8 mos old, she was STILL aspirating on a 'nectar-like' thickness, so we have been bumped up to 'thin-honey' since then. She has that same "lazy-larynx" issue, also refered to as a "soft larynx" (FYI) and they told us it only gets worse as they get older (which seems counterintuitive) until they are big kids. Aspiration is very serious and can cause fatalities from Pnemonia and other chest infections. So do not take it lightly. The technician at E's Oct study was very upset that she had still been aspirating all that time, and we were very lucky she had never gotten sick.
I know what you mean about the constipation, so I would thicken with a thickner rather than formula if you can afford to, it's almost the same price actually. The thickners will not constipate him. But it will slightly dilute your BMilk, so I would add a little bit of formula to off-set that. We are no longer allowed to give E Bmilk due to a protein allergy, so now we do a ratio of 20oz H2O, 15 scoops of Elecare Rx formula, and 22 pumps of HydrAid for a 'thin-honey' volume that gives E 22 calories per oz. You would do roughly 4 scoops of formula to 20oz BMilk for a 22-24 calorie meal. Depending on your formula's caloric density.
E poops with every feed on that. So it seems that maybe something that you are eating may be constipating him? Be sure you get enough fiber too, a Benefiber supplement may do you both some advantage.
E was on an antacid from birth to December and I agree with you, I hate to give meds if I can avoid it. It did its' duty though, and you want to protect the esophageal lining from being eaten away by his vomit. I know Bulemics have lifeling issues, so there may be permanent damage by stomach acid going the wrong way as much as he is.
Lastly, DO NOT USE "Thick-It". It adds some caloric value, but gets thicker and thicker the longer it sits and is a big pain if you mix batches in advance. It will not work! :-)
E also had an EGD, (camera down the throat all the way to the small intestine) in Oct and despite her vomiting, it was normal thank God. But she did not vomit as much as you say your son does. She also had a PH Probe that came back negative, so again, I asked myself, "Why the Antacid." But I continued it through Dec anyways to be safe.
Hope this helps, write me back if you have any other Qs. And good luck!!

1 mom found this helpful

I am sorry to hear your son is having so much trouble.

First, I would have him on Formula 100% of the time. Every thing you eat transfers into the breast milk and you don't know at this point what is causing the issues.
My daughter was doing this and when I quit breast feeding she improved soooo much.
Second, using cereal to thicken the formula is the correct thing because it helps it stay down and out of the lungs.
Third, do the test. You want to get your son help as early as possible. Remember, esophagus cancer is caused by these kinds of issues.

Good Luck,

1 mom found this helpful

My son did a barium swallow test at about 14 months, so a bit different from your situation, but it wasn't that bad. The woman administering the fluid (it will be in a bottle for your little guy) was really sweet; she had toys to distract him with. It was MESSY, so make sure you have a complete change of clothes for him, and maybe for yourself too in the car.

I second the suggestion to see a pediatric GI to take a closer look at this. The ENT and GI should be able to work together, and any doctor who tries to talk you out of getting a second opinion isn't worth seeing again!

I would also recommend taking your son to a chiropractor. It may sound nuts, but a chiropractor offers a gentle, non-invasive option which might improve your son's reflux. There is no magic bullet for anything, so I'm not pretending that your son's issues would disappear after a few adjustments, but if it might reduce the severity or frequency some, then in my book it's worth a shot. My kids and I see Dr. Melissa Shelton (www.drmelissashelton.com) at Preston and Hedgecoxe. She sees lots of babies, takes most insurance plans, and is really wonderful to work with.

I'd also like to put in a plug for continuing to nurse. Breastmilk is the most perfect food for your baby, and even if you have to do elimination diet trials of your own food to look for a food allergy, the other benefits of breastmilk (immune system support, most easily digestible proteins, perfect fluid balance as the weather warms up, etc.) are worth it.

Good luck on this journey. You are obviously doing everything you can to help your son. Trust your own instincts, and don't let the doctors brush you off or force anything on you. You have a right to understand what's going on, and they have a responsibility to explain it to you until you are satisfied.

SAHM of 3

1 mom found this helpful

My youngest, who was a preemie and in PICU for RSV, had to have several swallow studies. They believe that when he was intubated twice, it damaged his esophagus and he also had laryngomalacia. Luckily, he did outgrow it, but it wasn't until about a year.

The studies weren't that bad. He didn't love them, but it gave us a lot of great information. The one thing I would consider is using a pediatric place for the study as opposed to an adult location. Ours specialized in children, so they were very patient and nurturing, both to my son and me =)

We also thickened for about a year due to severe reflux and aspiration. The Simply Thick is what we started on, but it caused him a lot of GI distress, so we switched to the rice. It did constipate him, but a little milk of magnesia in every other bottle fixed that right up.

Zantac didn't touch his reflux, switched to Prevacid, which helped some, but what really helped was when he got older and got on table food and was upright because he was sitting up and moving.

Good luck and hang in there!

1 mom found this helpful

Hi my son went through the barium test. What they have you do is have your son miss his last meal. And then at the doctor's they will give him barium which looks like milk through a bottle. He will be placed under what looks like a big x-ray machine but it will allow you and the doctor to see how the fluid flows through his organs and see if his larynx is indeed the cause of his problem. You get to stay by his side the whole time. Or he may be allergic to the cereal you are feeding him but it's better to be safe then sorry. After the barium test my son didn't behave any differently and wet and soiled his diapers like normal. No scary side effects. I rested easier knowing that at least my little guy didn't have the lazy larynx. He eventually just outgrew the spitting up thing. I'm had to drink barium before for another test and it tastes like thick vanilla, have you had milk of magnesia... like that.. not as bad as you think it is.

1 mom found this helpful

My son had the same problem, and we had a hard time finding a day care provider due to all the barfing. The Dr's. were also not concerned due to him gaining weight. They said the same thing about a "flap" not bieng fully closed/grown yet.
He outgrew it, at about 6 1/2 months. If I recall (this was about 15 years ago) adding cereal to the milk did help a bit. I think my kids were eating babyfood so I had added prunes or other food and there was no constipation. Matter of fact both my kids had this problem, and both by about 6 months outgrew it...hopefully that is the case for you to - hang in there.

1 mom found this helpful

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