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What is a Bravo capsule pH test?
The Bravo pH capsule test places a small device in the esophagus, or swallowing tube, to measure what happens when a patient feels the symptoms of heartburn. It may be more comfortable for some patients and provide better data than an esophageal manometry 24 hour pH study.
Why would a doctor recommend a Bravo capsule pH test?
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.
What does a Bravo capsule pH test involve?
You will be given medication to make you feel relaxed and drowsy during the procedure. The doctor will use an endoscope - a thin, flexible tube with an image sensor and a light at its tip - to place the Bravo capsule in your esophagus. In order to do this, the doctor will first guide the endoscope through your mouth to a location about two inches above where the esophagus meets the stomach. The doctor will then remove the endoscope and use a special catheter to place the Bravo capsule in your esophagus.
The capsule is held in place against the lining of the esophagus with a tiny pin. The capsule - about the size of a gel cap pain reliever - contains a radio transmitter that sends data to a small receiver either worn on your belt or carried in your pocket.
Over the next 24 or 48 hours, the capsule and recorder will note what happens in your esophagus as you eat, digest, and go about your daily activities. You will also write down when you feel the symptoms of heartburn, and press a button on the receiver at those moments. After the test is completed, your doctor can read the data from the recorder and see if the acidity, or pH, in your esophagus increased when you felt the symptoms of heartburn.
The disposable capsule naturally comes loose from the esophagus and is eliminated with body wastes a day or two after the test is completed. The device does not need to be retrieved.
How long is the recovery after a Bravo capsule pH test?
The procedure to install the Bravo pH capsule in your esophagus takes about 45 minutes. Because you will be drowsy from the sedation, you will need someone drive you home from the hospital. You may resume normal activities immediately after arriving home.