Esophageal pH Study
A 24 Hour Esophageal pH Study is used to measure the number of acid reflux episodes during the patient’s day. The study also measures the amount of time (in minutes) that stomach acid is present in the patient’s esophagus and allows for evaluation of the patient’s symptoms with activity, at home or work, and especially during sleep.
The information obtained from this study will show if reflux of acid is the cause of non-cardiac chest pain, hoarseness, coughing, halitosis, or asthma. This study can show how much reflux a patient is having when endoscopy findings are normal. This information will assist your physician in planning treatment for your particular health problem.
The Procedure The 24 Hour Esophageal pH Study takes place in an examination room. You will not be asked to remove any clothing and sedation is not usually given. Your appointment will last about one hour; this includes out-patient admission, instruction and placement of the pH catheter.
1.The nurse will spray your throat with a topical anesthetic and will use an anesthetic lubricant on the small, flexible pH tube.
2.The tube (1/8 inches in diameter) is gently placed into one nostril and guided into the esophagus.
3.The end of the tube is is positioned precisely 2 inches above the diaphragm, where acid sensing occurs.
4.After the pH catheter is placed, it is secured with small pieces of silk tape to the end of your nose and the side of your face.
5.The catheter is attached to a “walkman” type recorder that is worn on a belt, which is provided.
After Your Appointment After your appointment you will be able to resume normal activities. Some patients find that the pH catheter does not interfere with their normal activities, while others find it to be annoying and would appreciate having someone to drive them home. You will need to return to Digestive Health Specialists 24 hours later for removal of the catheter. This visit will only take about 5 minutes.
The catheter may cause:
• the eyes to water
• the nose to run
• sore throat
Risks 24 Hour pH Esophageal monitoring is a very low risk procedure, when performed by competent specialists. Complications such as perforations (tearing) or bleeding of the gastrointestinal wall can occur, but they are rare. Equipment failure or death are extremely unlikely, but remain remote possibilities.