What is an Esophogram?

An Esophagram is an X-ray done under fluoroscopy that takes pictures of the esophagus which connects the throat to the stomach, and carries food and drinks from the mouth to the stomach. This x-ray shows how well the esophagus is working and is looking to see the direction in which the food travels as its being swallowed.

  • The test does not hurt!
  • Your child will be asked to lay down on the table while drinking a liquid called “Barium” which acts as a highlighter to show details of the esophagus and the direction the food goes when your child eats.
  • Many children say that the Barium looks like a milkshake and enjoy when the technologists mix it with another flavor to help make it taste better.
  • The test takes about 15-30 minutes to complete depending on how your child cooperates.

Preparing your Child for an Esophogram

  • Take note that your child should not eat or drink anything before the exam.
  • A staff member will call you ahead of time to provide you with the proper instructions to follow for the day of the exam.

What to Expect the Day of the Exam

Step 1: Getting Ready

  • From the waiting room a staff member of the Radiology department will bring you to the X-ray room in the Fluoroscopy area of Radiology. 
  • In the room you will see a camera attached to a long table with a video screen behind it.
  • Your child will be asked to change into a hospital gown and lay down on the table.

Step 2: Taking Pictures

  • The technologist will then move the camera over top of your child’s stomach. The camera never touches your child. Reassure your child this does not hurt.
  • As the technologist takes pictures, your child will need to start drinking the Barium out of a cup with a straw. Tip: Please feel free to bring in any fun, silly straws to help or distract your child while drinking the Barium liquid.
  • If your child is younger, he/she may drink the Barium out of a sippy cup or bottle.
  • Once your child is done drinking, the technologist takes a few more pictures before test is complete.

Step 3: Results

  • Results will be sent to your doctor usually within 48 hours.

This page was last updated on: March 18, 2021 01:21 PM

Children's Radiology

The Radiology facilities at Nicklaus Children’s are specifically designed for the comfort and diagnosis of infants, children and adolescents.

Learn More