Methods Used to Diagnose Acid Reflux Disease

My heart is on fire. Now I know when we hear those words there are a lot of thoughts that come to mind like- different song titles and lyrics, pick up lines, pure love. But let me tell you what comes to my mind acid reflux disease. If you are having lots of heartburn a doctor can tell you if you have acid reflux.

Doctors will confirm the diagnosis by using special medications that will suppress the production of the acid that the stomach produces. If the medication helps to decrease the severity of the heartburn than the diagnosis has been confirmed. Diagnosing acid reflux disease this way is not always effective.

Upper Gastrointestinal Endoscopy

Upper gastrointestinal endoscopy is one of the most common methods to diagnose acid reflux disease. During this procedure a tube – that is built with an optical system – is swallowed by the patient. Doctors will examine the lining of the stomach, esophagus, and duodenum as the tube works its way through the body.

This procedure is not effective on patients whose esophagus looks normal even though they might have acid reflux disease and the symptoms associated with it. Those who have an inflamed esophagus make it a very clear diagnosis for doctors.

Gastric Emptying Studies

These studies help doctors to determine how well a patient’s body can empty food from their stomach. Health studies show that 20% of patients who have acid reflux disease will have a stomach that empties everything out slowly – which is why the acid is being refluxed to the esophagus.

During these gastric studies the patient will eat a meal that is considered to be made up of radioactive substances. The doctor will place a Geiger counter over the patient’s stomach to measure how quickly the substance inside of the meal is being emptied from the stomach.

Acid perfusion test

This test is used to see whether or not the chest pain that the patient is experiencing is being caused by acid reflux. During the test the doctor will feed a thin tube through one nostril and down through the back of the throat until it reaches the middle of the esophagus.

A dilute, acid solution will be poured alternately with a normal salt solution through the tube and into the esophagus. The patient will not be told which solution will be poured first. If the acid solution causes the patient pain and the salt solution does not than the patient has acid reflux.