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Human Digestive System
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pH Monitoring

Esophageal pH monitoring is a test performed to identify the cause of heartburn. This test allows your doctor to evaluate your symptoms to determine the frequency and duration of acid coming up into your esophagus.

At Mid Coast Hospital's Digestive Health Center, we use the Bravo™ pH monitor. Your doctor will analyze the results from this test to determine what is causing your symptoms and the best treatment to prescribe for you.

The test involves a small pH capsule, approximately the size of a gel cap, that is attached to your esophagus while you are sedated during an Upper Endoscopy (EGD). Throughout the test period, the Bravo pH capsule measures the pH in the esophagus and transmits this information to a small receiver worn on your belt or around your torso.

How do I prepare for this test?

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. You may be required to stop your acid reflux medication 5-7 days prior to the test.

What happens during and after the procedure?

The capsule takes only minutes to place in the esophagus. It is placed during an Upper Endoscopy while under sedation.

Once the capsule is in place, the pH monitoring begins and lasts for 96 hours. You will be discharged home with a receiver that you are to wear and keep within 3 feet of you for the next 96 hours. The capsule is small, so you may eat normally and go about your daily routine.

Your nurse will provide detailed instructions on how to operate the receiver prior to discharging you. You will use the receiver to record when you have reflux symptoms. Examples include cough, heartburn, and regurgitation. You will also record your meal times and when you lie down.

After 96 hours when the test is completed, you will return the Bravo receiver to your doctor's office. The test data is uploaded to a computer and analyzed to determine what is causing your symptoms and the best treatment for you.

The capsule usually detaches naturally from the esophagus within 5-7 days and is passed in the stool and flushed away. It is important to be aware that this capsule contains some metal components. You may not have an MRI for 30 days following this test.

 

 
         
 

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