Atrium Health Navicent Gastroenterology & Hepatology

Bravo® pH

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Bravo® pH is a monitoring system that is capsule-based. This system is a test, which is stress-free for patients, and the examination detects any presence of acid reflux in the gastrointestinal system. The data for the test is collected over a period of a few days. This allows the physician time to evaluate the symptoms of acid reflux on a patient-by-patient circumstance. This allows the determination of how often and how long the symptoms occur. Bravo pH helps the doctor to see the rate at which acid flows back up into the esophagus. Physicians use Bravo pH to see whether a patient is suffering from GERD or gastroesophageal reflux disease. The FDA has cleared the Bravo® pH monitoring system for patients age 4 and older.

Bravo® pH is a breakthrough in acid reflux testing because it does not require a catheter. Instead, a miniature pH capsule is attached to the patient's esophagus, and data is transmitted wirelessly to a recorder that the patient wears around the shoulder or waist. Individuals who take the Bravo® pH test are able to continue performing regular activities while the test is being conducted. This evaluation gives patients an easy and convenient way to monitor their heartburn symptoms.

Since Bravo® pH has a capsule design, patients are able to take the device off to sleep and shower without interrupting the test. It is also important that patients maintain a normal diet while taking the test to give doctors a more accurate picture of acid exposure to the esophagus. This makes the test more efficient since catheter-based systems are not able to accomplish this.

The delivery system for the Bravo® pH capsule is attached esophagus following a manometry or endoscopy. The software that collects the Bravo® pH data records, stores, views and analyzes the activity of the esophagus, which assists in properly diagnosing reflux disorders.

There are contraindications to keep in mind with the Bravo® pH test. For instance, patients who have severe esophagitis, obstructions, or varices may not get an accurate reading. The same is true for people with bleeding diathesis. The Bravo® pH test is also contraindicated in individuals with implantable cardiac defibrillators or pacemakers.

There are also possible side effects associated with Bravo® pH. Complications can occur, such as perforation. The pH capsule can also become prematurely attached in some cases. In some patients, the capsule will fail to detach from the esophagus after the test has ended. Bleeding, tears in the mucosa and capsule aspiration can also occur. Some patients also experience fever, infection, high blood pressure, and respiratory or cardiac arrest. If any of these complications occur, surgery or endoscopic intervention may be necessary.

Since the Bravo® pH capsule contains a magnet; patients who are receiving the test should not have an MRI within 30 days of taking the Bravo® pH test.

Those who think that the Bravo® pH test may be beneficial in detecting acid reflux should talk to their doctors about getting the evaluation. After the test, results are available, customized treatment and prevention options for acid reflux can be discussed.