Before placing an acid reflux diagnosis, some health care professionals will recommend that the patient undergoes endoscopy, for confirmation – this procedure allows the visualization of the patient’s esophagus and stomach in order to detect any signs of acid reflux. The procedure is safe and painless.
Although the endoscopy procedure itself only lasts for a few minutes, the patients are advised to be prepared for a long waiting time. In order to obtain the best visualization of the esophagus and stomach and to detect any signs of acid reflux (or other gastro-esophageal affections if present), the patients are advised to refrain from eating several hours prior to the procedure, and they should only drink clear liquids.
There are certain operations which need to be performed before the patient is cleared for endoscopy: the patient will be explained the entire procedure and will undergo a complete medical examination, and will need to sign a consent form.
The endoscopy may only be performed in hospitals or clinics which have a specialized radiology department. Specially trained health care professionals will be assisted to you for the duration of the procedure: the endoscopist, his assistant and a nurse. You will be connected to a monitoring system and will be asked to lie down on your left side. You will be administered a mild sedative, in order to block any discomfort you might feel during the procedure, and a mouth guard (a plastic device meant to protect both the endoscope and your teeth) will be inserted between your teeth.
The endoscope will be placed in your throat and you will be asked to swallow, in order to allow it to pass into the esophagus. The device will be sending the images it records to a monitor, and if the endoscopist decides there is not enough visual evidence of acid reflux, he will also maneuver the endoscope into taking some tissue samples for a biopsy.
Once the procedure is complete, the endoscope is removed and the patient is led into a separate room, to recover.