How is GERD diagnosed?

Diagnosis of GERD. • Gastroscopy
Gastronomy aids the diagnosis of GERD. An endoscope with a light source is inserted through a long, thin catheter via the oesophagus into the stomach and duodenum by the doctor so that the oesophagus, stomach and duodenum can be viewed clearly. After the procedure, the patient may experience sore throat, mild bloating and dizziness, but these should not be of any concern.

• Ambulatory 24-hour gastric pH monitoring & oesophageal manometry
An oesophageal manometer is usually deployed by the doctor first to check for normal peristalsis of the oesophagus and determine the exact position of the lower oesophageal sphincter. Then a gastric pH monitor (around the thickness of an electric wire) is passed through the nose and placed above the lower oesophageal sphincter for 24-hour monitoring and diagnosis of GERD.

• Bravo pH monitoring system
The patient first has to swallow a small pH capsule, which wirelessly transmits data about pH levels in the oesophagus to a small receiver worn on a belt or waistband. Two days later, the doctor will assess the symptoms of GERD by studying the data on the frequency and duration of acid reflux.

Proton pump inhibitor (PPI)
Proton pump inhibitor (PPI) is used clinically for effective diagnosis of GERD. This drug can suppress the secretion of gastric acid with a sensitivity of as high as 80%. The doctor will prescribe it to the patient for 2-4 weeks. If the symptoms improve or subside, the presence of GERD can then be established. On the other hand, if the symptoms persist, they should be related to other diseases and further examination will be required.

Related Questions

How is GERD typically diagnosed?

Symptoms. Most gastroenterologist will use clinical history to diagnose gerd. This may include a trial of acid treatment such as with medications such as omeprazole. Other diagnostic testing such as pH measurement can be used when the diagnosis is elusive. Read more...
Clinical history. Usually just a good clinical history and response to acid reducers are enough to diagnose gerd. The gold standard is ph testing of the esophagus with either a catheter or capsule test. An endoscopy will show if there is erosive gerd. Read more...