24 Hour Esophageal pH Testing

What is it?

This test measures the amount of acid that flows back (refluxes) into the esophagus (swallowing tube) from the stomach.  This test is done over a 24 hour period of time.

How do I prepare for the test?

  • You may or may not be off your acid-suppressing medications for this test.  Your doctor will decide this.  If you are ON Your medications, take them as you normally would.  If you are OFF your medications, do not take them for 7 days before the test.  You may take Tums or Gaviscon up till 6 hours before the test. Take your other regular medications as usual.
  • Have nothing to eat or drink for 4 hours before the test.
  • You will need to sign a consent before the test.
  • Please shower and wash your hair before the test as you will not be able to do so while the probe is in place.

What happens during the test?

A numbing medication will be used in the nose or throat to ease the passage of the pH probe.  A narrow, pliable probe is inserted through the nostril and into the esophagus.  You may feel a little pressure in your nostril and feel like gagging as the probe starts to go in.  These feelings will settle once the probe is in place.  The procedure is generally well-tolerated.  This test takes approximately 10-15 minutes.

What to expect after the procedure:

  • You may resume your normal activity and diet after the probe is inserted.
  • You will be able to drive yourself home, as you will not have had any medication to relax you.
  • You will be asked to keep a record of your meals and any symptoms that occur during the test period.
  • You will have to return the next day to have the probe removed.  You will be with the nurse approximately 5-10 minutes.
  • Your doctor will speak with you about the results at your next visit with him/her.


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