Friday, February 25, 2011

If You Have Acid Reflux, Read This

Gastroenterologist Darren Baroni, M.D., describes a new procedure offered at Fauquier Hospital as “the next generation of testing” for people who have gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). He
explains, “Most people who are diagnosed with acid reflux are given some medication and they get relief. But there are a few who don’t respond to medication, and we need to find out if they have
very severe acid reflux or if it’s something else. The answer to that question will determine how we treat the problem.”

Fauquier Hospital is the only hospital in the region to offer these two advanced tests for acid reflux symptoms: 24-hour esophageal pH-impedance monitoring and esophageal manometry.

Esophageal pH-Impedance Monitoring
This test measures and records the pH in your esophagus in order to determine whether you have GERD, also known as acid reflux or heartburn. Esophageal reflux is a condition in which stomach acid bubbles back up from the stomach and moves into the esophagus. This happens when a valve at the base of the esophagus doesn’t work as it should.

Frequent reflux can cause permanent damage to the esophagus. The impedance testing also measures how often stomach contents reflux into the lower esophagus. Even if the pH of the fluid is normal, other substances like bile and gastric enzymes can be detected. These substances can be just as damaging as acid, and before impedance testing was available, they weren’t able to be detected.

The combined pH and impedance testing involves having a small tube inserted into the esophagus. The patient wears monitoring equipment for 24 hours and pushes a button when he or she feels a reflux episode. The data is recorded and analyzed to determine whether there is an acid or strictly an enzyme/bile reflux problem.

Esophageal Manometry
This test is used to monitor the function of the valve that prevents reflux of gastric acid into the esophagus. It also tests the muscles of the esophagus and how they function. This test tells your doctor if your esophagus is able to move food to your stomach normally and, once it reaches the stomach, whether it backs up into the esophagus again.

The manometry test is commonly given to people who have:
• difficulty swallowing
• pain when swallowing
• heartburn
• chest pain

Tiny measuring ports measure the pressure of the muscles in the esophagus and the functionality of the valve when a small, flexible tube is inserted into the esophagus. Dr. Baroni says, “It may be that
the esophagus is registering no pressure, or that pressure is happening all at the same time, instead of in a wave. What we see will tell us what kind of treatment may be necessary. At Fauquier Hospital, we have high-resolution manometry that allows us to see — in real time and in great detail — how the esophagus is working.”

1 comment:

Bile Reflux Sufferer said...

I'm glad to read about Esophageal Manometry. It seems like the best choice for testing for gastric reflux. I will certainly ask my doctor about this. Thank you for posting.