For Hometown News
Florida Hospital DeLand's Heartburn Clinic now offers manometry and pH testing services to assist in diagnosing, treating and monitoring patients' esophagus (food pipe) issues.
"These two new tests are important because frequent or chronic heartburn may be associated with a more serious problem known as GERD, otherwise known as gastroesophageal reflux disease, or more simply known as acid reflux disease," said Dr. Marin Prado, the hospital's gastroenterologist. "Damage caused by GERD can lead to more serious medical problems such as difficulty swallowing, which is called dysphagia, narrowing of the esophagus called strictures, or Barrett's esophagus, a condition that is often the beginning stages of esophageal cancer, the most rapidly-rising form of cancer in the U.S."
Esophageal manometry is a test that can evaluate the causes of gastric reflux, heartburn, difficulty swallowing and functional chest pain. It assesses the pressure and motor function of the esophagus and evaluates how well the muscles in the esophagus work to transport liquids or food from the mouth into the stomach.
Through pH testing, Dr. Prado can detect stomach acid in the esophagus, which could mean the muscles are not functioning properly and are inadvertently allowing acids to regurgitate from the stomach.
During this pH test, a capsule about the size of a gelcap is attached to the esophagus. This capsule measures the pH in the esophagus and transmits this information to a small receiver worn on the patient's belt or waistband for about 48 hours.
During this time, patients eat normally and go about their daily routine as usual, but are asked to document in a journal the times when reflux symptoms occur. After the test is completed, patients return their personal journals and the receiver to Dr. Prado, who then analyzes the results. Several days after the test, the capsule naturally falls off the wall of the esophagus and passes through the digestive tract.