A Swallow Study, A Bronchioscopy, and Ear Tubes Oh My!

Last week, Jax had his swallow study to check to see if he aspirates while he’s eating. This was a test to try to find (or rule out) a cause for Jax’s lung issues. Sometimes when kids aspirate on their food, it can cause lung infections, wheezing, and coughing. So – it made sense, based on Jax’s symptoms, to check it out.

Jax is such a tough little dude. He just rolls with the punches. Even when he isn’t allowed to eat, he becomes resourceful and starts eating his hands. Here he is in the waiting room wondering “where the heck is breakfast?”

Eating Hands

Check out the cool set up for the swallow study. They placed Jax in a special booster seat that allowed them to see the food and take Xrays as it went down.

Getting Ready for the Swallow Study

Then, they pulled a type of curtain (which was the actual Xray machine) out so they could take the Xrays. He wasn’t so sure about that one…


We knew the results immediately – Jax does not aspirate while he’s eating. This is good news! But, I’ll admit, I was almost hoping it would show something that could be a reason for Jax’s lung problems.

Yesterday, we went to see our newest doctor, Dr. Sidman. Dr. Sidman is an ENT (ear, nose, and throat) specialist who will help us find a solution to Jax’s issues. He discovered that Jax has some slight hearing loss due to a build-up of fluid in his ears. This is also the cause of Jax’s recurrent ear infections. So, he recommended that Jax gets tubes. Sounds good! Hopefully that will help reduce the number of ear infections that the little buddy has to deal with.

At the same time, Doc will also do a bronchioscopy to look at Jax’s airway. He will be looking for cysts, scar tissue, and or a narrowing of the airway. He said something interesting…he said that micropreemies can breathe with a tiny airway when they are small, but as they get bigger, sometimes the airways don’t grow along with them (because of cysts or scar tissue, or even small tears in the airway from the vent). So, he thinks that might be a possible reason why Jax’s breathing issues are getting somewhat worse the bigger he gets.

This will be only a diagnostic procedure. After the procedure, we will discuss any findings and the possible course of action.

So, the procedures are both easy – the total time will be about 20 minutes! The hard part will be Jax going under general anesthesia and spending the night again in the hospital (you all know how much I love that!). I’m actually glad, though, that Jax will have to stay overnight for observation because if he does have any trouble (i.e. breathing spells) we will be in good hands immediately.

So, that’s the plan going forward. I’m not sure when the surgeries will be scheduled yet, but I’ll keep you posted!

Little surfer dude having some fun in between all these doctors appointments!
Little surfer dude having some fun in between all these doctors appointments!