The Surgery Center has added two new endoscopy procedures, both designed to study the esophagus. These specialty tests are not common throughout the area; now, Northfield Hospital can serve as an alternative to sending patients to the Twin Cities or Rochester for these services.
The first procedure, Esophageal Motility (also called Manometry) study, use a small-caliber catheter that is placed through the nose into the esophagus. With this catheter in place, the patient is coached on swallowing exercises. Using computer-aided interpretation, the catheter depicts the pressure waves that travel down though the esophagus and decipher normal from abnormal motor function. Esophageal manometry may be performed to evaluate the causes of gastric reflux, heartburn, difficulty swallowing, and functional chest pain. This test is also used as a pre-operative evaluation for anti-reflux surgery.
The second procedure is an Esophageal pH study, which is performed with a Bravo brand probe. The Bravo reflux capsule is attached to the lower esophagus after an upper endoscopy is performed. The capsule remains in place for several days before it spontaneously releases and is eventually shed. Patients are sent home with a wireless remote recording device – typically for 48 hours, though testing can be 24-96 hours per doctor discretion. With the recording device and the probe in place, the acidity of the esophagus is continuously traced and correlated to evaluate the frequency and duration of acid reflux with particular symptoms in the patient. The following diagram from Given Imaging may help assist you with the course of treatment.
These procedures can be ordered through the same process as other endoscopy referrals. The Endoscopist will evaluate the findings and create a report for the referring physicians. Both of these procedures help to create a more comprehensive study of the upper gastro-intestinal tract and aid in diagnosis and management of the patient.