What is a Bravo pH test?

The Bravo pH test is a procedure during which a small device in the esophagus, measures what happens when a patient feels the symptoms of heartburn over 48 hours. A doctor may recommend this test when a patient has chronic heartburn that might be caused by acid reflux, or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). It is used to confirm or rule out a diagnosis of GERD.

How is a Bravo pH test performed?

Dr. Hathaway uses an instrument called an endoscope (a thin, flexible tube with an image sensor and a light at its tip) to place the Bravo probe in your esophagus. Dr. Hathaway then guides the tube through your mouth to the area above where your esophagus meets your stomach. A special catheter is used to place the Bravo capsule in your esophagus. This procedure takes about 45 minutes. Because you will be sedated during the procedure, someone will need to be available to drive you home.

The capsule (about the size of a gel cap pain reliever) is held in place against the lining of the esophagus with a tiny pin. The capsule contains a radio transmitter that sends data to a small receiver worn on your belt, or carried in your pocket. Over the next 48 hours, the capsule and recorder will keep track of what happens in your esophagus as you eat, digest, and participate in your daily activities. You will be asked to keep notes of when you develop heartburn. Because you will press a special tracking button on the receiver at these times, Dr. Hathaway will then be able to compare the data on the recorder to your notes to determine if the acidity (pH) in your esophagus is increased during the moments you felt the symptoms of heartburn.

The disposable capsule is naturally eliminated with body wastes a day or two after the test is completed.