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8110 Gatehouse Road, Falls Church, VA 22042

Diagnostic Tests for Heartburn

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If you suffer from persistent heartburn two or more days a week, you may have gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). Inova offers state-of-the-art diagnostic studies to evaluate heartburn symptoms and diagnose GERD:

Esophageal Function Testing (DFT) or High-resolution Impedance Manometry (HRIM)

  • This test monitors the strength and coordination of the contractions in the esophagus and lower esophageal sphincter.
  • It is used to identify problems with swallowing and to guide surgical and medical management.

Upper GI X-ray (UGI)

  • This test may demonstrate reflux of the swallowed barium and will help spot abnormalities such as a hiatal hernia and other structural or anatomical problems of the esophagus.
  • It will not detect mild irritation, although strictures/narrowing of the esophagus and ulcers can be observed.

Upper Endoscopy (EGD)

  • While you are sedated a doctor inserts an endoscope though the mouth and into the esophagus, stomach and first section of the small intestine. It has a camera so that the surface of these structures can be evaluated, and abnormalities detected.
  • The doctor also may perform a biopsy. Small instruments are passed through the endoscope allowing the doctor to remove small pieces of tissue from your esophagus. The tissue is evaluated under a microscope to make diagnoses and to guide therapy.

24-hour pH Impedance Examination

  • This test involves inserting a small recording wire into the esophagus that will stay there for 24 hours to measure when and how much acidic and non-acidic fluid is refluxing into your esophagus.
  • When combined with a symptom diary, this allows the doctor to see correlations between symptoms and reflux episodes. The procedure can be beneficial in detecting whether respiratory symptoms, including wheezing and coughing, are triggered by reflux. It also helps determine the effectiveness of standard medical regiments.

To receive a diagnostic test, you will need an order from your doctor. 

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