Diagnosing GERD

In many cases, your Atlanta physician can diagnose Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) by listening to your symptoms, which may include heartburn, coughing, sore throat, lump in the throat sensation, and chest pain. Sometimes, though, your doctor may require other tests to make a definitive diagnosis or to determine if you have any serious complications, like Barrett’s esophagus. The four most common tests for diagnosing GERD are barium X-rays, endoscopic examination, esophageal pH monitor test, and manometry.

Barium X-rays – This type of exam is conducted in the radiology department on an outpatient basis. You will drink a barium liquid while a radiologist watches the barium as it progresses through the digestive tract. For this exam, you must refrain from eating or drinking after midnight the night before the barium X-ray procedure.

Endoscopy – Pursuant to an endoscopy, you will receive an intravenous sedative along with a local anesthetic applied to the back of the throat to numb the gag reflux. The doctor inserts a tube, called an endoscope, through the patient’s mouth through the esophagus. The doctor is then able to view the esophagus and stomach, and can take images with a tiny camera. A biopsy may be taken if an infection or cancer is suspected.

Esophageal pH monitoring – A tubular probe is guided through the nose and into the esophagus in a pH monitoring procedure. The tube remains in place for 24 hours while the patient resumes normal activities. The patient is asked to record Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) symptoms, such as coughing and heartburn during this 24 hour period.

Manometry – To record muscular pressure, a tiny tube is inserted through the nose into the esophagus. The tube is equipped with a sensor that measures the muscular pressure in the stomach and esophagus. Manometry can detect impaired stomach motility as well as determine whether surgery would be beneficial to you.


Leave Comment