Esophageal pH Study

What is Esophageal pH Study?

An Esophageal pH Study is a procedure that measures the reflux of acid from the stomach into the esophagus. This is an important study to consider performing in patients with acid reflux disease (GERD). An upper endoscopy is first performed. A thin flexible camera will be inserted into the mouth and passed into the esophagus and stomach. Once this area is examined, a small pH probe is clipped in the esophagus which will measure the amount of acid. This provides information about the severity and timing of acid reflux.

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Preparation for Procedure

  • Continue all medications prior to the exam unless otherwise directed by Dr.Singh
  • If you take any blood-thinners such as Aspirin, Plavix, Coumadin or others, please discuss this with Dr.Singh as he may need to stop these prior to your procedure
  • Do not eat or drink anything after midnight
  • The morning of your procedure, you may take all of your usual medications unless otherwise directed by Dr.Singh. In most cases Dr.Singh will request that you do not take any antacids the day of the procedure and the following 48 hours.
  • You will be sedated during your endoscopy. Because of this you will not be able to drive after the procedure and will need to arrange for someone to drive you home.

During Procedure

You will receive an IV upon arriving at the endoscopy center. Through the IV you will receive sedation for the procedure. Once sedated, you will undergo an endoscopy. A small camera will be placed into your mouth and guided into the esophagus. Dr. Singh will examine the upper portion of the small intestine, stomach and esophagus. If necessary, biopsies may be taken. Once these areas have been examined, the camera will be removed. Next, Dr. Singh will insert a small probe into the esophagus while you remain sedated. He will clip a small probe (less than a quarter inch in size) in the lower esophagus. This probe measures the level of acid in the esophagus. Dr. Singh will then reinsert the camera into the esophagus to confirm the probe is in good position.

You will then be given a monitor, which you are to wear for the next 48 hours. This monitor has buttons on it which you are to press when you have heartburn, cough, or chest pain. You are also supposed to document when you eat and when you have symptoms of heartburn in a diary that is provided separately. Most importantly, in terms of your diet and activities, you should resume your normal routine. After 48 hours, you are to return the recording device and your diary to the endoscopy lab. A report will be generated within a week for Dr. Singh to review. The probe that was clipped in the esophagus should fall off within a week and will be passed in the stool. There is no need for you to retrieve it.

After Procedure

Some patients may experience minor sore throat which can be treated with over-the-counter throat spray or relieved by gargling with salt water. Should you experience any unusual symptoms, such as large amount of blood in your stool, severe stomach pain, or high fever, please notify Dr. Singh immediately.