Nearly one in 10 adults suffer from heartburn. Also called acid indigestion, heartburn is a symptom of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) and occurs when stomach acid flows back, or "refluxes," into the esophagus, the muscular tube that connects the throat to the stomach.
Although the stomach is lined with acid-resistant tissue, the esophagus is not. Through acid reflux, repeated or prolonged exposure to stomach acids can cause inflammation, burns, ulcers and bleeding in the digestive system. Over time, scarring and narrowing of the esophagus can develop, making it difficult to swallow foods and liquids. Even worse, prolonged heartburn can lead to esophageal cancer.
As a part of our treatments for sufferers of heartburn symptoms, acid reflux and GERD, we offer highly specialized testing for advanced symptoms. For example, if you have experienced heartburn symptoms more than two or three times a week, for more than five years, you should undergo an EGD (short for "esophagogastro-duodenoscopy"). This exploratory procedure helps us test for more serious conditions.
In addition, esophageal acid testing, or pH monitoring, is essential to rule out heart problems. When heartburn symptoms are present, normal pH acidity levels can be an indicator of serious cardiac issues.
We strongly encourage testing for persons who have a history of GERD, which they are able to control with medications. They are still at risk of esophageal cancer. A one-time endoscopy can indicate whether one is at risk for GERD-related adenocarcinoma of the esophagus.
Manometry: Recording muscle pressure within the esophagus, to detect abnormal patterns
Upper GI series: X-rays of the esophagus, stomach and duodenum
Upper endoscopy, gastroscopy and esophagogastroduodenoscopy (EGD)
Medtronic’s Bravo® Catheter-Free pH Monitoring System
Drug therapy for surgery
pH Monitoring for GERD
Traditionally, esophageal acid testing, or "pH monitoring," has been considered the gold standard for diagnosing gastrointestinal reflux disorder (GERD). Two types of pH monitoring of the digestive system are currently available: plastic catheterization and the Bravo pH Monitoring System.