Modified Barium Swallows Now Offered

Children in the area can now visit Chan Soon-Shiong Medical Center at Windber (CSSMCW) for Pediatric Modified Barium Swallows (MBS), evaluations that are integral in assessing and ruling out aspiration in the pediatric through adult populations. Specifically, these studies aim to assess the safest consistencies that a patient is able to take without dysphagia or swallowing dysfunction resulting in the risk of aspiration (food and liquids entering the airway).

An MBS consists of an evaluation where a patient ingests foods and liquids containing barium sulfate, a contrast that outlines the oral, pharyngeal, and esophageal structures on an x-ray film. It is a real-time assessment of an overall swallow response done in fluoroscopy with a radiologist present to observe the overall swallow function of a patient. These tests are objective assessments to rule out any deficits that would impede the swallow function and rule out aspiration or ingesting food and liquids into the windpipe.

In November, the hospital began offering these studies because there was a need for local access. “Many children in the region travel to Pittsburgh to be assessed. The goal is to bring these families closer to home by offering this service right here in Windber,” said Speech Therapist Shannon Butler.

Butler has taken continuing education and specialized courses to be able to offer these objective assessments to children in the area.

Founded in 1906, Chan Soon-Shiong Medical Center at Windber (CSSMCW) is an independent, non-profit acute care hospital in northern Somerset County, bordering Cambria County. The 54-bed hospital shares a campus and collaborates with Chan Soon-Shiong Institute of Molecular Medicine at Windber (CSSIMMW), a private, non-profit biomedical research center. With more than 450 employees, CSSMCW is the fourth largest employer in Somerset County. CSSMCW’s mission is to provide excellence in personalized, quality health care services through innovation, research and education in response to community needs. For more information visit