24 hour pH studies
The diagnosis of gastro-oesophageal reflux disease is usually based on symptoms and response to therapy. Sometimes these symptoms do not respond to conventional therapies. It may be necessary to confirm the presence of GORD in this situation before exploring other therapeutic options. There are several conditions which can mimic GORD. An incorrect diagnosis may result in unnecessary and ineffective therapy, while the correct condition goes untreated.
24 hour pH studies are useful in the following situations:
- Reflux symptoms that do not respond to conventional therapy
- Atypical symptoms, e.g. cough or asthma only, thought to be caused by GORD.
- Prior to anti-reflux surgery
The test involves having a thin probe passed down the nostril into the last part of the oesophagus. This probe is secured with tape and left in place for 24 hours to assess the frequency, duration and severity of reflux episodes.
Using this information, as well as other information provided by the patient during the test period, an accurate assessment of the presence of significant reflux is obtained.