Esophageal pH monitoring is a test that is designed to measure how often and for how long stomach acid enters the esophagus. pH probe testing, also referred to as 24-hour pH probe, is most commonly used to determine whether or not a patient has gastroesphageal reflux disease (GERD). However, it can also be sued to determine the overall effectiveness of medications or surgery to treat GERD.
Performed by your Arlington, Texas gastroenterologist, this test will look at and measure how long a patient’s stomach contents reflux into the lower esophagus. Esophageal reflux is a condition in which an individual’s stomach acid moves back in to the esophagus. This often happens when the lower esophageal sphincter, located where the esophagus meets the stomach, does not close tightly. If this occurs on a regular basis, you may be at risk for permanent damage to the esophagus. A pH probe test is then performed to determine how well the stomach acid is cleared downward toward the stomach and look at what is causing stomach acid to enter the esophagus..
Before the Test
In order to best prepare for the test, you must not eat or drink for at least 6 hours prior to the exam. You should also be sure to inform the Arlington medical staff of any medications you are taking or are allergic to.
What to Expect
The pH probe test requires a thin, small tube with acid sensors (a pH probe) to be gently passed through your nose, down the esophagus, and positioned roughly 2 inches above the lower esophageal sphincter.
In some cases patients experience a brief gagging sensation as the tube is passed through your throat. The tube is then secured to your nose and the side of your face with tape. A portable recorder is attached to the tube and you will be required to wear the recorder around your neck. You will be briefed on the buttons you will see on the recorder and asked to press them to document specific events.
During the 24 hours in which you will wear the device you should be sure to follow your normal daily activities. Eat as you normally would, however, it is important for you to refrain from sucking on candy or lozenges, chew gum, or snack during the 24 hour testing period. It should also be noted that the equipment cannot get wet, so please do not shower or bathe.