Why test for GERD?

Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) is a serious problem associated with frequent or chronic heartburn. Damage caused by GERD can lead to serious medical problems such as difficulty swallowing, esophageal narrowing, or Barrett’s esophagus.

What is Bravo® pH Monitoring?

Bravo® pH monitoring allows your doctor to evaluate your heartburn symptoms and determine the frequency and duration of acid coming up into your esophagus. This enables your physician to determine if your condition is GERD.

To perform the test, a miniature pH capsule is attached to your esophagus. This capsule measures the pH in the esophagus and transmits the information to a small receiver worn on your belt or waistband.

What can I expect during the procedure?

This procedure is performed at the local hospital. The capsule is placed while performing an upper endoscopy or EGD (Please review the Patient Education regarding Upper Endoscopy for more information). You will be instructed by your doctor when to stop eating or drinking prior to the procedure. Sedation is used during the procedure for your comfort. The capsule takes only moments to place in the esophagus. The test period lasts 48 hours or more depending on your doctor’s orders.

Because the capsule is so small, you may eat normally and go about your daily routine during the testing period. You may feel a vague sensation that “something” is in your esophagus or you may feel the capsule when you eat. To minimize this sensation, chew food carefully and drink liquids.

During the testing period, you will be given a diary and asked to write down when you eat, lie down, or have reflux symptoms. Some examples of reflux symptoms include coughing, heartburn, and regurgitation.

Once the test period is complete, you will return the Bravo receiver and diary to the local hospital. The test is then uploaded to the computer for your doctor to review. Several days after the test, the capsule naturally falls off the wall of your esophagus and passes through your digestive tract.

What are the complications of Bravo® pH monitoring?

Bravo® pH monitoring is generally safe when performed by doctors who have been specially trained and are experienced in the procedure. Although complications are uncommon, they do occur and can include:

  • premature detachment
  • discomfort
  • failure to detach
  • mucosal tears
  • bleeding
  • perforation
  • any risks/complications associated with the upper endoscopy procedure

Your doctor will review the risks and benefits of the procedure with you prior to the procedure.