If you have symptoms of heartburn or acid reflux, your physician may want to determine the amount of acid (the pH) that is getting into your oesophagus from your stomach and/or the amount of bile getting into your oesophagus from your stomach.
The ambulatory 24-hour pH monitoring test will monitor the acid in your oesophagus during a 24-hour period. It involves the placement of a very small diameter pH probe through the nasal passage which is swallowed into the oesophagus with drinks of water. The tube will be attached to a mini-computer held in a purse-like carrying case so that you may carry on a normal day, including usual activities, and regular eating habits.
You will not be able to take any medications that would change the pH, or acid versus alkaline, in your oesophagus during the testing (consult your physician if you are unsure).
The tube will be removed the next day at a appointment time set up by the GI nurse before you leave. It generally takes about 30 minutes to place the tube and give you instructions. You will then be sent home with the tube inplace for approximately 24 hours.
The complications of this procedure are exceedingly rare, with the most significant being oesophageal perforation. Sometimes your nose might bleed and you may have a sore throat after the test.
If you have questions regarding whether you need to have these tests, you should call the physician who requested that you have the testing. He or she will be able to answer your questions.
You should not eat or drink for 4 hours prior to your test
On occasion, this test is done immediately after an oesophageal manometry test. When this is ordered, both tests will be scheduled into the same day and time.
If you have diabetes and take insulin, do not take any regular insulin and take one-half your usual Lente (LEN-tay) or NPH dose. The GI nurse will inform you which medications not to take during the test.