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Human Digestive System
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Esophageal Manometry and pH Monitoring

Esophageal pH monitoring is a procedure for measuring the regurgitation or backwash(reflux) of acid from the stomach into the esophagus. It is acid reflux that is responsible for the discomfort of heartburn.

At Mid Coast Hospital’s Digestive Health Center, we use the Bravo™ pH probe. This is a miniaturized wireless pH capsule that attaches to the interior wall of the esophagus. From its position in the esophagus the sensor records each reflux of acid into the esophagus on a pager-size receiver attached to your belt.

Esophageal pH monitoring is used to diagnose acid reflux (GERD), the regurgitation of acidic, partially digested food contents from the stomach into the esophagus, and to determine the effectiveness of medications that are given to prevent acid reflux.

How do I prepare?

You should not have anything to eat or drink for 8 hours before the test. Your doctor will inform you about what medications you may or may not take prior to the test.

What happens during and after the procedure?

With the patient sitting in a chair, the capsule is introduced into the esophagus on a catheter through the nose or mouth and is attached to the lining of the esophagus with a clip. The catheter then is detached from the capsule and removed.

Once the capsule is in place, the patient is sent home for 48 hours. During the 48 hours that the capsule is in place, the patient goes about his or her usual activities, for example, eating, sleeping, and working. The receiver records meals, periods of sleep, periods of acid reflux and other symptoms.

After 48 hours the patient returns to the doctor’s office, and the receiver is attached to a computer so that the data it has gathered can be downloaded into the computer where it is analyzed and put into graphic form.

The capsule usually detaches from the esophagus wall within five to seven days and is passed in the stool, and flushed away.

 
         
 

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