If you suffer from heartburn, you probably think the symptoms are obvious. Most people are very aware when the acid in their stomach flows into their esophagus. They say the burning is unmistakable. Then again, there are some who experience heartburn and have no idea what's going on. So the diagnosis can be difficult. "People whose major symptoms are sore throat, they lose their voice or they're having asthma. These people are difficult because many of them have no heartburn whatsoever because they have reflux at night when they're asleep," says Dr. Paul Anderson, a Gastroenterologist.
The common test for heartburn means a tube in the nose and throat for 24 hours. Now, some doctors are offering patients another option, the new Bravo Ph System. It relies on a high-tech capsule, about the size of a large multi-vitamin, that's put in place during an outpatient procedure. "It passes through the mouth and comes down into the esophagus where it's put about two and a half inches above the opening of the stomach. So if any acid refluxes up, it will contact this and this transmits to a small pager like device which patient wears on their belt," says Dr.Anderson.
Patients go about normally while the system collects data for 48 hours. Once the information is collected, the Bravo capsule passes through the body within a few days.