With this test, the acid levels inside your esophagus are measured and the results are used to determine if the level of acid present is related to the symptoms you are experiencing.
How is it done?
First, an upper endoscopy is performed. This is done under sedation, so while you are sleeping, a camera will examine your esophagus, stomach, and the first part of your small intestine, the duodenum. For more information, please see the appropriate topic review detailing this procedure. With pH monitoring, a small capsule/probe is attached at the correct location to the wall of the esophagus. There are no wires or tubes attached to the capsule. Over the next 48 hours, it will collect information regarding the pH (the acid level) in the area around it. This information is recorded by a small pager-like device (receiver box) that you will wear. Also, during this time, you will keep a journal of symptoms. After 48 hours, you will return the pager, and the information will be downloaded. Your journal of symptoms will be compared to the data collected from the device in your esophagus.
How do I prepare?
Five days prior to the procedure, the following medications will be stopped unless otherwise directed: vitamin E, multivitamins, fish oil, flaxseed, aspirin, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications (ibuprofen, naproxen, etc.).
Sometimes, other medications will also be stopped, such as those that decrease acid levels, (proton pump inhibitors) or blood “thinning” agents, like clopidogrel or warfarin.
Six hours before the procedure, please do not eat or drink anything.
Once the probe is placed what do I do?
Eat, drink, work, and exercise as you would on a typical day. Make sure to record events like meals, sleeping, cough, heartburn symptoms, belching, and burning in the journal using the time that is on your receiver box device.
What should I do with the receiver box?
Wear it. You can clip this to your waist, or put it over your shoulder. If the receiver is too far from the probe that is attached to your esophagus, it will beep. DO NOT touch the other buttons on the receiver box or remove them from the pouch.
Can I shower when having this test?
Yes, but do not take the receiver box into the shower with you. Leave the pouch on a bench outside the shower as close as possible.
Can I sleep?
Yes. Place the receiver box in the pouch as close as possible, within three feet, on a bedside table.
Can I eat when the probe is in place?
Yes. The probe is small. We ask that you eat and drink like normal.
Are there side effects to having the probe?
It is not uncommon to feel a slight pressure in your esophagus. If this is painful, or you develop trouble swallowing, contact our office.
Do I have to have the probe removed?
No, it will detach from your esophagus by itself after several days and travel through your GI tract. It will ultimately be passed in a bowel movement. The probe is made for one-time use only, so please do not collect and return the probe.
What else should I know?
After having this test, you cannot have an MRI for 30 days after. Also, people with pacemakers or defibrillators cannot use pH monitoring.
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