The Memorial Heartburn Center offers a variety of diagnostic tests to check for GERD, including:
Upper Gastrointestinal Series
A radiographic (X-ray) examination of the upper gastrointestinal tract using a liquid suspension that may be a barium or a water-soluble contrast. The esophagus, stomach and duodenum (first part of the small intestine) are made visible on X-ray film by the liquid suspension.
Esophageal pH monitoring is a minimally invasive test that evaluates whether acid from the stomach is refluxing into the esophagus and causing various symptoms. It requires the attachment of a small monitoring device onto the esophageal wall during an EGD. The test monitors the acid from the stomach for 48 to 96 hours, which assesses whether the patient’s symptoms are correlated with the reflux.
24-Hour pH/Impedance Reflux Monitoring
Impedance reflux monitoring measures the amount of reflux (both acidic and non-acidic) in the esophagus during a 24-hour period and assesses whether the patient’s symptoms are correlated with the reflux. A catheter will be passed through your nose and throat into your stomach and then withdrawn slightly so that the tip is positioned just above the stomach. The catheter will then be secured to your nose, cheek and neck with tape. You will be able to feel it in the back of your throat, but it should not be too uncomfortable. You will be able to breathe, eat and drink normally.
Bagel/Marshmallow Swallow Test
An alternative method for monitoring esophageal muscle movement has the patient swallow a barium-soaked marshmallow followed by a barium-soaked bagel portion. When swallowed, the movement of these food items is tracked through the gastroesophageal junction during fluoroscopic video esophagography. The ability to swallow the portions indicates to the surgeon that the patient can tolerate the anti-reflux surgery.
The patient is asked to perform swallowing maneuvers, providing information on the status of the esophageal muscle function, coordination and contract ability of a patient’s swallowing mechanism. The procedures involves the insertion of a pressure-sensitive catheter through the nose into the esophagus and takes takes approximately 30 to 45 minutes to complete. You may resume regular activity, diet, and medications once the procedure is over.