What is the Bravo pH test?
The Bravo pH test is a test to study pH levels (levels of acidity) in the lower part of the esophagus(the tube leading from the mouth to the stomach) over a 48 hour period. This helps in detecting the presence of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) or acid reflux where the acidic contents of the stomach move backwards into the esophagus. The test may also be performed to assess the effectiveness of treatments for GERD.
To perform the test an endoscopic procedure is first performed where a pill-sized device is affixed to the wall of the esophagus. This device detects the pH levels and wirelessly transmits its findings to a receiver worn on your belt.
Preparation for the Endoscopic Procedure
- You should follow your physician's guidance if you are on any GERD medications such as acid suppressants. Most patients are asked to stop taking their acid-suppressing medications prior to the test.
- You should avoid foods and liquids for 4-6 hours prior to the procedure.
- Arrange for someone to drive you back home as you will receive sedative medication for the procedure.
Procedure and Testing
- During the procedure, a small capsule-like device is temporarily attached to the wall of the esophagus with the help of an endoscope.
- Following the procedure, you can go home and will be allowed to resume your daily activities and diet.
- The capsule measures pH levels in the esophagus and transmits the readings by radio waves to a receiver worn on your belt or waistband.
- The receiver contains several buttons that will help you record when you are experiencing GERD symptoms, like heartburn.
- You may be advised to maintain a diary in order to record your daily eating and sleeping schedules.
- Once the period of testing is complete you will submit the recording device and diary to your doctor. The information is fed into a computer and analyzed. A report is then prepared and your doctor will discuss the results with you.
- The capsule device detaches from the esophagus and passes out of your gastrointestinal tract within a few days with normal eating and drinking.