24-hour pH Study

24 Hour Esophageal pH Study is used to measure the number of the reflux episodes during the patient's day. The study also measures the amount of time (in minutes) that stomach acid is present in the patient's esophagus. The 24 hour test allows evaluation of the patient's symptoms with activity, at home or work, and especially during sleep.

The information obtained from this study will show if reflux of acid is the cause of non-cardiac chest pain, hoarseness, coughing, halitosis, or asthma. This study can show how much reflux a patient is having when endoscopy findings are normal. This information will assist your physician in planning treatment for your particular health problem. Your appointment will last about 30-40 minutes; this includes out-patient admission, instruction and placement of the pH catheter. If esophageal manometry is also being performed at the same time, the procedure will be longer, approximately 1-1 ½ hours.

The procedure takes place in an examination room. No sedation is given. A nurse will spray your throat with a topical anesthetic and she will use an anesthetic lubricant on the small, flexible pH tube. The tube is 1/8 inch in diameter: about 1/3 the diameter of a pencil. This tube is gently placed into one nostril and guided into your esophagus. The end of the tube is positioned precisely 2 inches above the diaphragm, where acid sensing occurs. You will be lying on an examination table during the placement. You do not have to remove your clothing,

After the pH catheter is placed, the catheter is secured with small pieces of tape to the end of your nose and the side of your face. The catheter is attached to a "Walkman" type recorder that is worn on a belt, which is provided. You will not be able to bathe or shower with this catheter in place. Some patients find this catheter does not interfere with their normal activities; others find it to be annoying and would appreciate having someone to drive them home. It may make your eyes water, your nose run, and your throat sore. You will have to return 24 hours later for removal of the catheter. This return visit will take about 5 minutes.

24-hour pH esophageal monitoring is a very low risk procedure. Complications such as perforations (tearing) or bleeding of the gastrointestinal wall can occur, but they are extremely rare.


Note: The information in this section is provided as a supplement to information discussed with your healthcare provider. It is not intended to serve as a complete description of a particular topic or substitute for a clinic visit.