Testing for Heartburn/GERD
Even after lifestyle changes, heartburn or GERD may persist. Tests may be prescribed to help determine what is causing your symptoms and what can be done to treat it. The Scottsdale Healthcare Heartburn/GERD Center may use one or more of the following tests:
Barium swallow radiography
This test uses X-rays to help spot abnormalities such as a hiatal hernia or severe inflammation in the esophagus. With this test, you drink a solution and then x-rays are taken. Mild irritation will not appear on this test, although narrowing of the esophagus, ulcers, hiatal hernia and other problems will.
An upper endoscopy can be used to test for GERD. It is more accurate than a barium swallow. The physician may spray your throat to numb it and administer intravenous sedation prior to sliding down a thin, flexible tube called an endoscope. Video chips within the endoscope allow the doctor to see the surface of the esophagus and to search for abnormalities. Biopsies (small pieces of tissue - the size of a pinhead) may be taken to look for microscopic inflammation of the esophagus.
pH monitoring or Bravo
An ambulatory pH monitoring examination measures the amount of acid in the esophagus., The doctor attaches a tiny capsule onto the esophagus, using an endoscope. The capsule measures the acid for 48 hours and you will wear a small receiver to document these measurements. While you go about your normal activities, it measures when and how much acid comes up into your esophagus. This test is useful in people with GERD symptoms. The procedure is also helpful in detecting whether respiratory symptoms, including wheezing and coughing, may be triggered by reflux.
To see a specialist, contact Scottsdale Healthcare at 480-424-7228.