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Esophageal 24-Hour pH Study

What is an esophageal 24 hour pH study?
Why would a doctor recommend an esophageal 24 hour pH study?
What does an esophageal 24 hour pH study involve?

What is an esophageal 24 hour pH study?

An esophageal pH test uses a thin, flexible tube and a portable recorder to learn what happens in the lower esophagus, or swallowing tube, of a patient when he or she feels the symptoms of heartburn.

Why would a doctor recommend an esophageal 24 hour pH study?

A doctor may recommend this test when a patient has chronic heartburn that might be caused by acid reflux, or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).

What does an esophageal 24 hour pH study involve?

You will be given medicine to numb and lubricate your nose. The doctor gently inserts a thin, flexible tube with a probe on its tip through your nose and into your esophagus, or swallowing tube. This takes about ten minutes. The probe's tubing will be taped to your nose and face so it can't fall off. The probe measures the acidity or alkalinity (pH) inside your esophagus.

For the next day, you will wear a small, portable recorder at your waist (you will not be able to take a shower or tub bath during this time). The device makes a 24-hour record of the pH, or acid level, in your esophagus. When you feel the symptoms of heartburn, or acid reflux, you push a button on the recorder. After you return the recorder to the hospital, your doctor will remove the tubing from your nose and examine the data on the recorder. The data will help your doctor understand what happens in your esophagus when you feel the symptoms of heartburn, or acid reflux.

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