The effect of a downstream bluff body on upstream vortex breakdown has been investigated in an open-flow, motivated by the potential for tissue culture in swirling flow bioreactors. A sphere was placed on the central axis of a swirling jet issuing into a tank of stagnant water. The position of the stagnation point of a vortex breakdownwas tracked as a result of varying the azimuthal Reynolds number.While it is known that an increase in azimuthal Reynolds number leads to the upstream movement of the vortex breakdown stagnation point, this investigation focuses on the position of the vortex breakdown as a function of sphere size, axial Reynolds numbers, and sphere position. It was found that the distance from the jet exit to the stagnation point scaled with axial Reynolds number to the half-power, and that distinctive flow topologies of closed and open recirculation zones were found that were analogous to the cone and bubble forms previously found. Varying the size of the sphere was found to affect the flow only for sphere diameters comparable or larger than that of the nozzle - a smaller sphere size was found not to modify the flow significantly from the no-sphere case. Finally, the distance of the sphere from the nozzle affected the stagnation point location in the near-nozzle region. A correlation was also found between the swirl setting for various sphere distances at which the vortex breakdown changed form, with the swirl setting that gave the same stagnation point position with the no-sphere case.