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Which Consistencies Do I Trial?

A Moment in Time

Most people call the Modified Barium Swallow Study (MBSS) a “snapshot in time” or a “moment in time”.

You can’t possibly trial every single consistency the person may eat while under fluoro.  The radiation exposure would get to be ridiculous and the kitchen in your facility may not like you much if you do many modifieds in a week.

So what in the heck should you trial?

Well, if you follow the MBSImP, then you know that there is a standardized set of consistencies to trial (thin, nectar/mildly thick liquid, pureed and solid).  You can add to this if you need.  If you want to add a mixed consistency or need to try honey/moderately thick, then you can add that.

Basically, you want to answer the question, what is the physiology of the swallow?

Somewhere along the line, the MBSS became a test for determining if the patient is aspirating or not and what consistency we need to place the person on (or their diet sentence.)

Don’t forget, you are answering the questions:

  • What does the swallowing physiology look like?
  • How can I change the swallow to make it functional?

You are finding the information to develop that patient’s plan of care to make them as functional with swallowing as possible.

The best thing you can do is to test the consistencies that answer those questions.

Now remember, in the MBSImP course, you learn the nectar (mildly) thick liquids can change the swallowing physiology with increased movement of the pharyngeal structures.   You may recommend the patient stays on regular liquids, however you may use nectar (mildly) thick liquids to exercise the oropharyngeal musculature as an exercise.


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