In some patients, we may suspect gastroesophageal reflux disease, but the patient’s symptoms may be atypical. Or we may simply need to confirm our diagnosis. To do so, at Ogden Gastro, we use several tests.
What is GERD?
Gastroesophageal reflux is the return of the stomach’s contents back up into the esophagus. When a person has normal digestion, their lower esophageal sphincter opens to allow food to pass into the stomach and closes to prevent food and acidic stomach juices from coming back up into the esophagus. GERD occurs when that lower sphincter is weak or relaxes inappropriately, allowing the stomach’s contents to flow up into the esophagus, which damages it.
Tests we use to diagnose GERD
Upper Endoscopy This test allows direct visualization of the lining of the esophagus and small intestine. To perform the test, Dr. Gonzales passes an endoscope through the mouth into the esophagus, stomach, and on into the small intestine. The camera on the end of the endoscope allows Dr. Gonzales to check for potential damage, and it allows him to obtain biopsies for further testing.
Esophageal Manometry This test uses a small diameter tube that is passed through the nose into the esophagus. Dr. Gonzales can then take measurements of esophageal function through the use of pressure readings of muscle contractions of the esophagus. He can also measure the lower esophageal sphincter muscle pressure. This test alone cannot confirm a GERD diagnosis, but it will allow Dr. Gonzales to know if esophageal motility problems are a contributing factor.
Esophageal pH/Impedance Probe This diagnostic technique can determine the severity of GERD in children and adults. The test uses a special catheter known as an esophageal probe. This probe can determine ifthe reflux content is acidic. The pH level is assessed to determine acid concentration, and the amount of both acid and nonacid reflux are measured. After a small catheter is inserted into the nostril and guided into the esophagus, it is slowly removed and the pH/impedance probe is inserted in its place. This probe is connected to a small recording device and it remains in the esophagus for 24 hours. The probe is removed the next day and Dr. Gonzales can read the results.
Do you wonder if you have GERD? Call the team at Ogden Gastro, (801) 387-2550, and let’s check you out.