Acid Reflux Testing: Why is it important

GERD cannot be accurately diagnosed based upon symptoms only. The majority of patients with reflux disease don’t see a physician. They either ignore their symptoms or self-diagnose and often self-medicate. Studies have shown that 32% of all Proton Pump Inhibitor (PPI) users are not refluxing and should not be using these powerful medications. At Houston Heartburn and reflux Center, we adopt a comprehensive evaluation using state of the art diagnostic testing. These tests and procedures only provide complete clarity if they are coordinated and conducted properly. Dr. Darido personally oversees and interprets every performed study. The following are the most commonly used studies:

Upper Endoscopy: also called EGD

Dr. Darido inserts a thin, flexible, lighted tube into the esophagus and stomach to visualize the inner lining of this area. The test can detect inflammation, erosion, abnormal growths, and hiatal hernias. During the procedure the patient is sedated. Small tissue samples called biopsies may be taken from areas that appear abnormal. A specialist examines these samples under a microscope to check for inflammation or other changes resulting from acid reflux.

Ambulatory pH Monitoring

pH testing can check for the level of acid in your esophagus. This is the most accurate and objective test for diagnosing GERD. A small sensor is placed in the esophagus to measure acid exposure for a period of 24 to 48 hours. Upon completion of the test, Dr. Darido interprets the results using a special computer program. The test will show the amount and duration of acid exposure to the lower esophagus.

Esophageal Manometry

This test measures the strength of your esophageal contractions. It checks for the ability of the esophagus to move food down into the stomach. It also detects the presence of a hiatal hernia as well as other conditions affecting the lower esophageal sphincter like achalasia that can mimic GERD. Manometry is required if the Nissen Fundoplication is considered as a treatment option.

Barium Swallow: also called upper GI series

This test is done using X-ray imagery. It visualizes the esophagus and stomach anatomy. It checks for the presence of a hiatal hernia and the backflow of contrast into the esophagus.

Gastric Emptying Study

This study evaluates the emptying function of your stomach. Patients with delayed gastric emptying (gastroparesis) may suffer from acid reflux. The treatment in this case is focused on promoting gastric emptying to alleviate acid backup into the esophagus. Dr. Darido is in the process of developing a new surgical procedure for the treatment of severe gastroparesis. The procedure is called Longitudinal Gastrectomy and Duodeno-Jejunostomy.

As you further investigate us, you will recognize the thoroughness of Houston Heartburn and reflux Center treatment Program, and you will come to appreciate why we do what we do. Our absolute commitment is to be there for you in your fight against acid reflux.