bravo

The 48-Hour Bravo Esophageal pH Test: A Probe to Study Acid via Monitoring Capsule

Gnorb Health 155 Comments

My throat. It burns. And it’s been burning for far longer than I’d like to remember. Thing is, my doc isn’t so sure that my GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease) is really caused by too much acid splashing my esophagus. At one point maybe, but not anymore. No, he believes what I have is NERD, or non-erosive reflux disease. (Poetic justice?) To find out, he had me go through a study called the Bravo pH Esophageal Test.

Academic Overview

The 48-Hour Bravo pH Esophageal Test monitors the esophagus (the tube connecting the mouth to the stomach) for 48 hours in order to determine whether the heartburn I’m feeling is really acid or something else. In this case “heartburn” actually means the burning in my throat, as if I’d just swallowed battery acid, rather than in my chest, as if my heart had burst into flames. (This might indicate another condition entirely, one called LPRD, or laryngo-pharyngeal reflux disease. It’s sort of like GERD, but felt in the throat, not in the chest.)

During the test, the doctor puts a 26mm capsule down the throat and sticks it to the side of the esophagus. A monitor is then given to the patient which records the capsule’s pH readings. These will, in theory, help determine if the person has GERD. Two days later, the monitor is returned. A week later the capsule will detach itself and go through the digestive track.

For more details on the test, including getting ready, check out the Cleveland Clinic’s information site on it.

My Experience

I went over to Tampa General Hospital to get implanted with the Bravo pH capsule. I got there, as per instructions, at 1:30 P.M. Got checked in, found the waiting room which overlooked Tampa Bay and Bayshore Blvd. The Wife, there with me, cracked a smile when she realized she “could see my (her) old high school from here!” The soft music playing in the background made the scene like something out of a travel video. A few minutes later we looked at one of the nearby televisions and realized it was playing a travel video.

After an hour of watching, waiting, and enjoying the aroma of hot chocolate–especially aromatic considering I’d not eaten anything in almost 24 hours–the nurse stopped by with a device the size of a small-to-medium camera which I would, for the next two days, wear around my neck. This would be the external monitor, which would record all the transmissions sent from the tiny device which I would soon have implanted in me. Additionally it had three buttons which I would press every time I felt I had heartburn, regurgitation (food coming up to the back of my throat) or chest pain. Then she gave me a diary and told me to write down all my symptoms along with the time they occurred, making sure to use the time shown on the device itself, and not any other time piece. Beside the time, I would later find out, there was also a display of my current esophageal pH. I would later find this a very useful tool with which to experiment.

With all that said and done, I was brought in for the procedure. I laid down on a bed, clothes and all, and my gastroenterologist came in. He told me to gargle some numbing liquid–“DON’T SWALLOW IT!” he repeatedly reminded me.

“Aren’t you going to put me to sleep?”

“Nope. The procedure will take about a minute. The stuff you just gargled will numb your throat to quell your gag reflex.” As he said that, the nurse stuck a plastic ring in my mouth to keep it open, then strapped it to the back of my head. (Frighteningly S&M-ish.) Then he continued, “Alright, now I’m going to put this down your throat.” It was at that very moment that he pulled out this long, thin hoobajoob, about the size of my arm, out from under some desk. Oh, shit, I thought, as he asked me to turn to my side. “To make this a bit more comfortable I’ve lubricated the device with a bit of water-soluble KY-jelly.” Seriously, I didn’t need to hear that.

As I lay on my side, the doctor stuck the device in my mouth. When he got to the back of my throat he ordered me to swallow. As soon as I did he shoved the hoobajoob all the way down to just above my stomach. That’s when he turned the suction machine on. “Alright, now this will take about a minute, so just relax.”It took everything I had not to start heaving. All I could do was count. Seventy-two seconds later, he pulled out the hoobajoob. A monitoring device about the size of a #2 pencil’s eraser and ferule had been implanted in my esophagus. It would take about a week for it to dislodge itself and go through the Chamber of Doom.

The whole process, the laying down–the gargling stuff, the implantation–all took about ten minutes. It would be an hour before I ate or drank anything, as per doctor’s orders, seeing as the numbing agent I gargled also numbed the control valve which keeps food from accidentally finding its way into the lungs.

The Testing Period

Normal esophageal pH is somewhere between 4 and 7. If it goes lower it indicates that acid is being refluxed, since the stomach’s pH is between 1 and 2. If it goes higher it might indicate bile reflux, although the stomach sometimes as alkaline periods. (The pH of bile is above 8.) Sudden drops of pH (from 7.1 to 5.3, or 6.1 to 3.8) indicate acid reflux. During the testing period my pH went as low as 1.8 and as high as 8.6, possibly 8.8. All this as per the pH display in the Bravo monitoring device I now had hanging around my neck. (It really did look like a camera.) The vast majority of the time it stuck between 4 and 7, usually between 5 and 7. What this means, I have no idea. I will when I get my results back.

I was told to eat foods which would cause my symptoms, so the first thing I did was head to my parents’ house, where my father, a pizza restaurant owner for years, would be making pizza. It was delicious. Deeeelicious. I topped the pizza off with a small Starbucks frappuccinno. Yes, evil, I know, but these are foods I KNOW would bring about symptoms. There was one small hitch with my plan, however…

Did I tell you I have a bad gallbladder? Yeah, I do. Having it taken out sometime soon (probably in the next week). Runs in the family. Also doesn’t help that I spent more than my fair share of time pigging out to crapstacular food. Mia culpa, mia culpa. Problem now was all those highly acidic foods were also fatty enough to cause problems.

My gallbladder took its revenge on me not immediately, but rather the next day. (It holds grudges.) While I had heartburn after the pizza (the pH reading dropped as low as 2.0 for brief periods, but stayed mostly above the 4.0 mark), it wasn’t until the next morning that the problems really started. After my breakfast–a sandwich made of egg whites, wheat bread and kale, followed by a cup of vanilla almond milk–I started feeling bloated. Real bloated. Then suddenly I started having pains. I was having a gallbladder attack. This was at 9:30 A.M. It would be almost 7:00 P.M. that night before the attack passed. In the meantime, my pH fluctuated between way-too-acidic (pH 3) and way too alkaline (pH 8). Since I wasn’t able to eat or drink during this time, the test was pretty much ruined.

I tried to salvage the situation on the final day. I was feeling well enough to eat what I would regularly eat, including low-fat foods that would cause me symptoms, foods like barley, oats, and juice (although it never dawned on me to try out BBQ sauce). For the most part the worst food of the bunch was the barley, which always gives me problems after a while. Don’t know why, really. It goes down fine, but then about an hour later I start burning up. Same with oats. The pH monitor corroborated this observation.

Anyway, the test ended at 4:00 on the dot; that’s when the monitor shut down. I dropped it off at the hospital and was finally rid of the thing. I should be receiving the results sometime this week. At that moment all I cared about was that I could finally go back to doing things like sipping water throughout the day and eating mostly fruits and vegetables, things which I know keep my heartburn at bay, medications or no.

The hardest part of this test, gallbladder problems aside, was that I couldn’t take anything for the discomfort I felt. I couldn’t chew gum, couldn’t suck on hard candies, couldn’t drink water to wash out the acid, and certainly couldn’t take antacids. Hopefully, however, this test shows that things aren’t as bad as I thought they’d be, even though they’re obviously not good. Now that it’s over I’m only concerned with one thing: getting rid of the bad, un-salvageable gallbladder. That’s a story for some other time.

Edit: If you want to read a bit more about my observations, check out this MedHelp thread, where I talk a bit about this.

Comments 155

  1. Martha

    I had the brovo done last Friday and have suffered with very bad chest n back pain when I eat. Now I’m noticing a lot of burping n pain on my left side the same site of pain when I eat. I saw the Dr on Monday he said he has heard this complaint n was calling the manufacture. I’m glad I found this site now I pretty much know I’m within normal. Can’t wait for it to float away. If the pain doesn’t go away by Monday which will be 10 days I’ll go for an xray.

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  3. Vicki

    I just had the bravo done yesterday for the 2nd time – 1st time was about 2 yrs ago and the results showed no acid reflux. Still been having alot of problems don’t I don’t think it heartburn but maybe an ulcer? So the dctr decided to try this again and see what happens. Yes it is painful in the spot where they attached it but not so bad as the first time. Thanks Gnorb for all the info. The only time I saw mine ph drop below 4 was when I awoke in the middle of the night so not really sure what that means. I was also told to eat foods that what cause acid reflux so I went right for the pizza! I was also told that I could chew gum. Didn’t really feel any different than the usual burning in my stomach and upper chest. I had been on Dexilant (like nexium) and it wasn’t helping at all – I felt no different while on the meds than I currently feel right now. I should have the results next week.

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      Gnorb

      Hi Vicky,

      Best of luck finding your answer, and glad to hear the test is going well for you. What other possibilities has your doctor considered? (Bile reflux? Eosinophilic esophagitis?)

  4. LA Mom

    Had the bravo put in last Monday. Today is Saturday. Will I feel it detach? What does it feel like as it passes through your system? Thanks for sharing your stories everyone.

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      Gnorb

      Hey LA Mom,
      1) No, you probably won’t feel it detach. It’ll probably come off sometime between tomorrow and Wednesday.
      2) It doesn’t feel like anything passing, surprisingly. At least, it didn’t for me.

  5. Chloe

    Gnorb, did you have a 24 hour esophageal ph test at some point before you had the Bravo? If so, what’s the pros and cons of each? My doctor insists I would have to be knocked out for the Bravo and the procedure is like an endoscopy. He feels the 24 hour test would be less painful but from reading your post, it sounds like the Bravo is the best way to go.Your thoughts?

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      Gnorb

      @Chloe

      No, I didn’t have the 24hr one. My doc went straight for the Bravo. The biggest cons to the 24hr are:
      – An uncomfortable nasal tube.
      – It’s only 24 hours.

      The biggest down side for the Bravo seems to be discomfort with some people. (I didn’t experience this.)

      As for the procedure, if your doc is telling you the procedure is like an endoscopy and needs to knock you out, (s)he’s an idiot. For mine I was not knocked down at all, and took less than 5 minutes.
      1) Spray some numbing stuff in the back of my throat to stop the gag reflex
      2) Stick this big, thin hoobajoob endoscope thing down my throat. (Lasted for about 2 minutes, and it took everything I had to not gag.)
      3) Clip the piece in place.
      4) Pull out the hoobajoob.
      5) Don’t eat for 2 hours.

      Now, if you haven’t yet had an endoscopy, that’s where it might be needed. They need to measure the distance from your mouth to the point of the clipping, which is I think 5cm above the LES. (My distance was 43cm, for example.) To measure this an endoscopy is needed.

      Good luck, and if I can answer any other questions, please let me know.

  6. blin

    Gnorb,
    I am scheduled for both 48hr and manometry. very scared about the 48hr. can you give me your symptoms? did anyone have awful pain below rib cage that just extended up towards mouth? feel like your dying? Ive had this for three months and tried meds and had endoscopy pain continues to worsen daily. feels like something stuck in my throat at all times. Anyone sound familiar? I am not having any acid in mouth or throat but why do I need 48hr bravo if I had endo? Wouldnt it show if I had GERD in endo? Id appreciate any answers here.
    thanks

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    Gnorb

    Hey blin,

    Don’t be scared of the 48hr. For every story you hear about problems with it there are a thousand stories of people without issues. There’s a pretty great chance you’ll be fine. As for your questions:

    1) Pain: You’ll have to continue investigating this with your doc. No idea, but being refractory to medication could mean that your issue isn’t acid, or that the med simply isn’t working. What meds have you tried? Are you sure the pain isn’t cardiac?

    2) Something stuck in throat: I know that symptom quite well, and it was a daily thing before I was on PPI treatment. It’s possibly sign that something is coming up and irritating your larynxophageal region. Could be acid, could just be irritants being refluxed.

    3) GERD *might* show up on an endo, but a 48hr Bravo would be a better indicator that acid is indeed refluxing, and if so, how much. If nothing showed up you might have Non-Erosive Reflux Disease, which means you have stuff coming up, it’s just not causing esophagitis. If the Bravo shows normal acid exposure and the pain continues, ask your doc about an esophageal manometry, to see if that reveals non-acid reflux.

  8. NAN

    I had the bravo put in in Oct. Terrible terrible pain afterwards for 3 days, couldn’t eat, drink, lay on my side, it just really hurt. I was told to only drink a gulp, no sipping, and eat normal so the monitor would record as I normally would eat. I have a hiatal hernia also. They found that doing the egd. and that is when they installed the bravo. Didn’t feel anything at time of the egd. Results came back I have an enormus amount of acid.
    No medicine has worked, not Nexium, not Dexilant, and prilosec was the one that made my heart race so much I was scared. I am taking nothing now but tums, helps some, not much. My pain in the chest and between my shoulder blades hurts more as the day goes on. By night, I am in a lot of pain. I can sleep fine. When I wake up I feel pretty good, but soon it starts all over again. I don’t eat much now, have change my diet, only drink water and soft foods. I swear it feels like that capsule is still attached. If that is even possible. I have thought so many times I must be having a heart attack. But I am not sick, no other signs or symptoms of heart attack, blood press is good, not overweight. I just feel like its a respirtory infection or that the capsule is still in there. I don’t know, I am so upset and feel like crap everyday because of it. I go to the GI Dr next monday and I will fill them in on how none of the meds have worked and I am still having such pain.

    1. Brett

      Hi, i had the bravo capsule 11 months ago and i think it did permanent damage. Are you still on this forum? If so please let me know

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        Gnorb

        If you think it did permanent damage, you may want to talk to your doctor. Frankly, though, the chances of it doing permanent damage are minuscule, at best, despite all the fear mongering.

  9. Johanna

    I’m so glad I found this site. I’m scheduled to have the Bravo test in 2 weeks and while I’m slightly nervous about what symptoms I might have, I’m happy I’ll be prepared.

    I’m currently taking Dexilant for my reflux, but am still having symptoms (just not as bad as before), so I’m not really looking forward to stopping the meds for a week before the test.

    My reflux was originally diagnosed by my asthma MD, as I’ve suffered with asthma since I was a child (I’m 28 now). She said I’ve probably been a “silent sufferer” of reflux for years and now it’s finally starting to show symptoms. About 4 years ago, I started having problems with my voice – I would answer the phone at work and my voice would cut in and out (almost like talking on a cell phone with bad reception). I saw 3 different ENTs, all of whom said there was nothing wrong, except my vocal cords were slightly red. One of them even said I needed speech therapy because I wasn’t pronouncing words correctly, which was causing the problem.

    It has gradually gotten worse over the past year and a half and now it does it on a daily basis and during regular conversations. I run out of breath very easily when talking and get hoarse very frequently. Has anyone else had these symptoms? My gastro MD said the acid is probably making its way up to my vocal cords and has basically been burning them for the past 4 years or so. My concern is that it’s done permanent damage and my voice won’t return to normal. It’s quite annoying and embarrassing, as I’m constantly getting questions about what’s wrong with my voice.

    Any thoughts or advice from fellow sufferers?

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      Gnorb

      @Johana

      Actually, one of my first symptoms was exactly what you described, a sort of “running out of breath” feeling when talking. (I used to describe it as “my voice getting tired”.) Taking a PPI stopped this symptom. It very much sounds like what you have is LRPD (Larynxophageal Reflux Disease – sorry if my spelling’s off), which is GERD, but where your acid shoots up to your vocal chords. In fact, you may have normal acid exposure that’s just going too high in your esophagus (the skin at the bottom of the esophagus is more tailored to taking occasional hits from your stomach acid than the top of your esophagus, which is more sensitive.)

      I’m wondering, do you also clear your throat a lot? Do you have post-nasal drip?

      Advice: PPIs, weight loss, and dietary changes worked for me (less bread, more veggies, nix all fried foods, nix getting stuffed full). Whenever I slip, this symptom invariably returns.

  10. cmac3721

    I have been reasonably sick since getting the bravo chip placed in me, I can’t figure out why my aniexty levels increased dramatically and I have had headaches and some tremors but not too often. I’m wondering if it is still stuck somewhere in my body and making me sick, any ideas to scan for this thing would be appreciated.

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      Gnorb

      @cmac3721 – This sounds like you’d need to talk to your doctor. It’s not normal, but then I also know nothing of your medical history, so to venture a guess would be entirely irresponsible.

  11. Linny

    I had a bravo capsule put in today, I was pretty foggy when they were explaining how to use the monitor. I can’t find anything on the web. I even called the company on the monitor and I guess they no longer make it. I have no idea which buttons to push and when…I am getting too old for this!

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      Gnorb

      @Linny;

      Call your doctor’s office tomorrow morning and ask them for directions. Basically, you should have been given a sheet of paper to track certain events — when you eat, when you have a symptom, when you sleep, etc. The device should also have buttons for these things, so when you’re about to lay down to sleep you’d press the “sleep” button, then when you get up in the morning you’d press the “wake” button; when you’re about to eat, you’d press the “meal” button; when you have a symptom you’d press the “symptom” button (there may even be buttons for specific types of symptoms); and so on.

      Again, I’d call the doctor’s office in the morning and have them go over the instructions with you again, though they should have also supplied a small instruction sheet.

      Best of luck.

  12. Tina

    So I have just read this whole page and I’m still on the fence about this thing. I am set to have this done May 2nd. And I am scared to death. Has anyone had Gastric by-pass and had this done?? I had it done 7 years ago and I have been on Protonix once a day everyday for years:( When they tried to have me go everyother day I would wake up with a Mouth full of acid and thought i was going to die. So I would like to no if the size of the device bothered anyone when it went out your system? any thoughts would be helpful

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      Gnorb

      Don’t be scared. Remember: for every person complaining that they had issued with the test there are at least a hundred who had no issues with it (myself included: I had exactly 0 issues with it, and in fact, wish I could have kept it longer). Of course, people aren’t going to go online in spades to announce, “This was an entirely insignificant event, and nothing of consequence occurred!!!”

      As far as the size, it’s a bit smaller than a standard pencil eraser. I didn’t even notice when it passed, truth be told, and I looked: I wanted to see the sucker leave my system. (For those of you wondering, I’ve had MRIs since then. Had it not passed, it would perforated my gut on its way out.)

      Note: I speak as someone who has NOT had a gastric bypass (and who is also NOT a doctor), though considering the testing site is a few inches above the normal gastric bypass incision, I don’t think you have anything to worry about.

  13. Tina

    Thanks for your response I am still going ahead with the test:) glad i found your page. i will post again after its done.

  14. chera

    Does anyone know if the MONITORING BOX constantly records pH levels??? I certainly hope this is the case. If it only records such events after pushing a button, my 3 day recording sheet will be BLANK! Unfortunately, the surgeon who performd my EGD & Bravo pH Probe failed to give me any instructions regarding how to operate it….only thing I got was the one sheet with 3 days/3 boxes to record symptoms!
    Moreover, I’m VERY CONFUSED as to why the surgeon chose this particular pH Probe procedure for me??? He knows that I HAVE ALREADY BEEN DIAGNOSED WITH & HAVE BEEN TREATED FOR ACID REFLUX DISEASE for many years. Isn’t that what the pH Probe is meant to test for and diagnose???

    I have had recurring polyps throughout my sinus cavaties requiring complete sinus surgeries twice. I also have had polyps on my vocal chords for quite some time.

    However, my surgeon mentioned nothing about polyps or anything else for that matter after my EGD & Bravo Probe insertion. The last time I saw him was just before being sedated for the procedure. Afterwards, he never even came back to speak with me.
    He did tell my mother though tha he really couldn’t tell if there was a proble while doing the EGD because my stomach was full of food! I DID NOT EAT A THING PRIOR TO THE SURGERY though. I followed his instructions to a tee…nothing at all past midnight. So, I really don’t understand how this could have been the case???
    *I have noticed the pH numbers displayed on the box seem to go very low whenever I regurgitate food or water. Some of these have been: 0.3, 0.9, 1.3, 1.5, 1.6, 1.9, 2.3, 2.5, 2.6, 2.7, 2.8, 2.9
    After some time has passed, they will gradually go up to the 3 and 4 range.
    Because the probe in my throat is already very uncomfortable, it makes regurgitating and vomiting all the more painful. Also, I’m afraid by doing so it may cause some sort of internal damage, so I’ve avoided eating ALL DAY this second day! I have drank milk though, because it is filling and always easy on the tummy. So, my average pH today has been around 5 or 6 while drinking milk. However, whenever I switched to drinking just water, my pH jumped back down to an average of 3.
    What should I expect this doctor to tell me whenever I go back to see him???

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      Gnorb

      Hey Chera,

      1) The monitoring box doesn’t continually record revels, but it does record at set intervals and when you press, (I think it’s every couple of miniutes or so.) The pressing of the button, though, is more for indicating WHEN it is you have symptoms, and what types, to see if they can match the symptoms to the acid reflux events.

      2) Your doctor probably ordered the test to see whether you actually do have ACID reflux. The fact is that a lot of other things act like acid reflux in their symptoms. (Non-acid regurgitation/reflux, bile reflux, eosinophilic esophagitis, and even too little acid.) I was diagnosed with Acid reflux for 2 years before they did the Bravo. The Bravo then revealed I didn’t have acid reflux at all (I had normal acid exposure). My issue involved hypersensitivity, eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE), and esophageal dysmotility caused by the EoE.

      3) Don’t know about the polyps or their relation to all this. Maybe you just didn’t have any visible at that time?

      4) No comment on his bedside manners.

      5) Wait, your stomach was full of FOOD? And you fasted?! Uhm… Has your doctor considered the possibility of GASTROPARESIS? That’s a HUGE tell-tale sign right there. ASK FOR A GASTRIC EMPTYING EXAM! Food in your stomach after 8 hours of fasting could indicate that your stomach isn’t pumping food fast enough. THIS IS A SERIOUS CONDITION THAT CAN CAUSE REFLUX, NAUSEA, AND VOMITING. THIS IS IMPORTANT. (Note: I have gastroparesis, though my case, thankfully, has gotten much better.) It’s usually not life-threatening, and is usually self limiting, but it DOES require treatment and lifestyle modifications.

      6) The numbers you mention are definitely in line with acid reflux. (Anything below 4.0 or any sudden drops of more than 2ph points are considered acid reflux.) The question is, how long were the numbers that low per episodes, and how many times they dipped that low. Ask for your Demeester score.

      7) Avoid drinking too much milk: the calcium there actually works as an acid reducer, at least in the short term. (In the long term, it causes an increase of acid in your stomach.)

      I’m not sure what your doctor will tell you (likely the results won’t be immediate, as they have to do an analysis on the recording unit), but I go back to #5. If you had food in your stomach during the EGD, you need to push for a gastric emptying exam. This isn’t something you want to screw around with.

      Best of luck.

  15. Susan

    Does anyone experience this? I have a sour coating in my mouth every morning and my ent said my throat was slightly red everytime I had a check up last year.I do not have any acid reflux pain in my chest or stomach, only this mouth thing upon waking before I brush my teeth. I’ve had a barrium swallow test, normal. Endoscopy, normal. This mouth thing started last October, after the ENT prescribed acid reflux med like Nexium. A week later, upon waking my tongue had sores and my mouth felt like it had glue inside. After stopping the meds all together I still have the sour thick taste in my mouth every morning (no sores). The dr scheduled me for the Bravo test as he wants to know if this is an acid problem. After reading the posts about side effects from this Bravo test, I’m thinking of cancelling it. I will be put under for the procedure.

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      Gnorb

      @Susan

      The Bravo test is exactly what your doctor should have ordered for this issue, as it’s the best determinant. It sounds like what you have may be nocturnal reflux, and the Bravo would be the best test for this. Don’t cancel it. Remember, for ever 1 bad story you hear about it, there are at least 100 people who have no issues whatsoever with the test.

  16. als5122

    Hi Gnorb,

    thanks so much for your blog, and especially your responses to comments. I read your blog yesterday, and had the Bravo today. Your blog helped me understand that there are other diagnoses besides GERD that need to be considered.

    For everyone having the Bravo soon, I totally agree with Gnorb – nobody writes a blog post saying “it was easy” or “no problems – smooth sailing” (except me).

    My bravo procedure took about ten minutes, it was easy, and I haven’t had any problems. I could feel food passing by it for about 4 hours afterward, but it wasn’t painful.

    Don’t worry – its an easy in, easy out procedure. One more thing – if you want to watch your PH on the monitor, ask your nurse to activate the feature *before* your procedure. I didn’t see it once the bravo was in, and the nurse said they couldn’t change the features once the monitoring was started. So I can’t see my PH…. :-/.

    Anyway, great blog, and don’t worry – the bravo is great!

  17. Tina

    So a few weeks ago I posted about having the montior done. May 2nd after not eating for almost 20hrs I went to the surgery center, the proceedure was to be done at 10:30 and around noon they finally got to me:( But they were very busy that day having two doctors fully booked. Everyone there was nice and somewhat helpful but I feel they couldv’e tried to take a few more minutes to explain everything. Many were more worried about getting there paycheck then talking with those of us paying them:( The IV was put in to start fluids and had to be repositioned fluid was leaking around the cath. waiting in the back took about an hour then finally to the proceedure room they gave me great:D meds because after that i remember nothing. half hour or so later they are waking me up and telling me to get dressed the doctor came in and said something but i don’t really remember what. I could feel the device when i swallowed anything for the first two days and had chest pain for about four days. i did the best i could with the monitor but i notice my ph never went below 5 it stayed mostly aounrd 8 or9 so i’m not sure whats up with that. I don’t go back to the Dr’s until the 14th I can still feel stuff hit the monitor if i dont take small bites. I can’t wait for it to detach. overall it wasn’t as bad as i thought it would be. some discomfort and nausea mostly. I’m not sure were the people who state they had bad issue had it done but i am glad I wasn’t one of them:) Best of luck to all who try this and be sure to research where you are doing the proceedure ask questions. Be Blessed

  18. Deanna

    I Have been having problems since 2008, Since I Had My Gallbladder removed things seem to get worest, I Have had 7 Upper Gi Endoscopy Since Then. Well, yesterday I Had Another one and had The Bravo Test Done, At First I Was Tired But Then I Had A Headache, as long as I Stayed lying Down I Was Fine, I Sleeped For about 4 hours and I Got Up And I Feel Fine, Never Felt That Away before, Not Sure If It Was That Or Just The Relaxing Medication They Gave Me, before they put Me Under. Well, I Just Had A Egd Done In Feb, Now This Time It’s 10 times worest, The Doctor Stated I Had Acid Burn On My Lower Part Of My Esophagus, But He Wants To See What The Bravo Test Comes Back. I Have The Following Symptoms, Food Getting stuck in my throat, Burning feeling, Vomiting, Harsh Voice at times, Hiatus Hernia, Reguration Of Food, Bluching, chest pains, Vomiting of Blood,12 times of H. Plori, Stomach Ulcers, Ulcers In The Esophagus, 100% erosion, Now He States It’s LA Grade C Esophagitis, I Have Had Several Biospy They Thought It Was Candida It Came Back Negative Twice, I Have Had That Test You Eat The Radation And They Track It Over 5 Hours And It Came Back normal, Had A Colonscopy They Thought Maybe I Have IBS, It Came Back Normal Because I Eat And Have Diarrhea, I Guess Now That Are Saying Its Dumping Sydrome, So Now They Stated Its Because Of The Acid causing problems, And To Be Honest I Really Don’t Think They Know Whats Going On. Put The Bottom Line Is, My Esophagus Looks Terrible, It Is Peeling from The something and I stay sick no matter what I eat. So I Have To Say Is If You Are Having Any Kind Of Problems Get A Second Opinion Before You Do Any Kind Of Surgery And Weigh You Results!

    1. Post
      Author
      Gnorb

      1) It sounds like the drugs made you woozy.
      2) H. Pylori — you need to be treated for this, first and foremost. If your doctors aren’t treating this then they’re not doing their jobs. More than esophageal problems, this can lead to stomach cancer, in cases where the H. Pylori is responsible for ulcers.
      3) LA Grade C means you’re in relatively high risk of this becoming Barrett’s Esophagus.
      4) IBS can’t be tested by colonoscopy (since it’s usually just a collection of nondescript symptoms). IBD, on the other hand, is. Good to know you’re clear of that.

      The biggest thing I see here with you is that H. Pylori. That must be treated before anything else, since that could be causing many of your problems.

      Best of luck.

  19. shelley

    Gnorb-you say you are much better now so that’s great. You were diagnosed with GASTROPARESIS and so what was your treatment ?

    I was having some digestive difficulties – on-going [ off & on ] for many months – they were : belching, bloating, heartburn, sensitivity at the waist, intestinal gas, hiccups, difficulty in swallowing capsules, overall fatigue, full feeling at base of throat, pain or burning in upper chest, pressure in the chest, pain in the left
    side of chest. sometimes i would have all of the symptoms i just listed and sometimes only one or two. some
    days i would feel pretty much ok.

    So I read on-line that progesterone can cause GERD. My doctor had put me on an oral form
    of progesterone in late 2008 so i got off that in 2010 and went to a natural progesterone cream–like i used to use years ago.
    but i still was not normal. so 2 months ago i emailed dr mc dougall and he said to go off the progesterone cream for 2 months as a trial.

    i read about hiatal hernia and I tried the self-massage technique described here and felt immediately better.
    I had to do it more than once over a period of time and I had my masseuse do it to me 3 times in 3 months.
    I also did the water in the stomach technique described in the youtube video.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xX0zKB2_ … re=related

    As of 91 days ago, I also stopped eating chocolate, stopped drinking coffee, alcohol and sparkling water began taking natural papaya enzyme with meals and chewable calcium after meals.
    The calcium helps the LES valve to close. I also went on Prilosec for 8 weeks – how i got off it was this:
    after 6 weeks i cut the 20 mg Prilosec tablet in half and began alternating just a half with a whole tablet.
    either a half or a whole one per day
    did that for one week. then i alternated a half a Prilosec with one Pepcid for a week. Then i took only one Pepcid
    per day for a week.

    i now eat a 95% low-fat, starch based diet and I much smaller meal at dinner than ever before and I do not eat after 5:30 or 6:00. I go to bed
    at 9:30 or so and it’s best not to have eaten anything within 3 hours of bedtime. I am about 85% normal now.

    1. Post
      Author
      Gnorb

      @Shelley –
      1) Treatment for gastroparesis was Domperidone and Nexium. (The first to deal with motility, the second to deal with the pervasive gastritis that crops up from delayed digestion.) I’m still on both, on and off, depending on a lot of factors (recent diet, stress, exercise level, my body’s mood, the alignment of the 7th house into the livinroom of the lion… or whatever). Losing weight helped. Eventually, I also started taking Iberogast, and that has helped, but the domperidone is better.

      About a year ago I had another gastric emptying exam which showed the gastric emptying time had improved. Even my doctor was surprised. So, officially, I’m not a gastroparesic, though the symptoms do return once in a while. Usually lasts for a few days then it goes away.

      2) Hiatal hernia is a HUGE problem for people. I was once diagnosed with a hiatal hernia (dx via barium swallow), but 2 subsequent EGDs showed no hernia. Still, I feel it pop-up once in a while. Not as much anymore, after the weight loss, but there are times. (As for the video, can you re-post the link? It seems to have been squashed by something.) I did use a technique to help push it down when I feel it act up, which again, isn’t frequent after I lost 100lbs.

      3) Congrats on the papaya enzyme working for you! Unfortunately, for me it was a no go :-(

      4) The Calcium… that’s an interesting story. From my understanding, calcium actually drops the stomach pH (makes it more acidic) which causes the LES to tighten. (Protein does the same thing.) Dunno if I have my facts straight on that, though in some cases there’s a definite rebound effect. Good on you if that’s not the case with you!

      5) Good to hear you’ve found a good regimen! Congrats! The only diet that has consistently worked for me is a low-fat pesco/ovo vegetarian diet with a very low allowance of starches, particularly grains. Unfortunately, that’s not a diet I can sustain strictly for long for a few reasons (mostly family/cultural pressures). Still, it’s one that I gravitate towards when I can.

      Sounds like you’re doing very well. Congrats!

  20. shelley

    Gnorb–thanks for your reply. And thanks for filling me in on your treatment.
    Here is the link to the video. Let me know what you think of it.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xX0zKB2_-UM&feature=related

    I have not been overweight and I never smoked but I did have a terrible amount of stress
    at the end of 2007. The guy in the video says people with hiatal hernia often tend to hold onto a lot of stress. So I think that was the start of my problem.

  21. shelley

    @Gnorb–please let me know what you think of these videos if you have time to watch them :

    every disease starts with a hiatal heria
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LuaIDpZChpE

    this is informative:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NNoAb94i5IU&feature=related

    this guy is a massage therapist and he shows a self-adjustment technigue for hiatal hernia

    http://www.natural-indigestion-relief.com/hiatal-hernia-adjustment.html

    thymus gland needs to be stabilized if you have hiatal hernia

  22. jen_dakotaj

    I like many others have had my share of GI issues since I was about 15years old. It started as heartburn but no one believed me since I was so young. when I was 20 I was diagnosed with H. Pylori and medicated and diagnosed with GERD which I was medicated for also. In 2000 I had my gallbladder out for it not functioning but the reflux issued didn’t resolve just the lower to mid right quadrant pain. The reflux continued for several more years and no medications seemed to help so in 2004 I had a Lap Nissen. The testing before the procedure, the ph monitor and the functionality of the LES were completed and it showed abnormally high amounts of acid. Total of 128 episodes in a 10 hour period with low ph and I think about 9 episodes lasting more than 5 minutes but only at night on the long episodes with my DeMester score of 47.0. After the surgery I continued Prevacid for 2 months but was immediately better except I lost a lot of weight from not being able to eat much. I was very thin but eventually got back to an acceptable weight. Things were good until about 2008 when symptoms started happening periodically and I was reevaluated and placed on Protonix for gastritis. I was also having problems with constipation and had been diagnosed with IBS and IBD. The medications helped with the reflux for several more years. In 2008 I also had every test under the sun and sent to another hospital 8 hours away to evaluate why my constipation was not getting better. Nothing really showed anything so I just went back to my normal GI doctor in NW Arkansas, which he is amazing and refused to give up on finding an answer. In 2011 my GI doctor ran another gastric emptying scan which showed this time that I had gastroparesis and they thought this was why I was nauseated all the time. In 2-2012 the nausea and vomiting and constipation got so bad I had to see a colorectal surgeon and was diagnosed with severe colonic inertia and had to have a total colectomy in 4-2012. He thought the reflux would get better if things would digest and he was right but the reflux has not gotten better. I have been on Dexilant since 2008 and it helped some but since January it has not and now I am taking Dexilant 60mg daily and Zantac 150 mg twice a day. I have redone the Upper GI, manometry and ph study which all point to Reflux again. Apparently the Lap Nissen is only effective about 10 years and some only last 3-5. I guess I was fortunate. Now they are going to do a TIF procedure for reflux because I am not overweight and bordering on underweight again and a redo lap nissen is dangerous. The TIF seems to be a more permanent answer than the lap nissen according to all the research so far on the TIF.

    The Bravo was uncomfortable to eat and did cause some pain but not nearly as bad as the reflux and heartburn that i currently had and have had for many years.

  23. jen_dakotaj

    I also forgot to mention I have a small hiatal hernia that was found about 2-3 years ago. I also have several EGD’s yearly but thankfully no more colonoscopy’s. It has been 7 weeks since my total colectomy and I would recommend that to anyone that is not responsive to medication and is developing other GI problems from constipation. My constipation was so bad I couldn’t even have a bowel movement with the colonoscopy prep and that is bad stuff. I have done very well after my total colectomy and have started getting much better, even though I still suffer with GERD.

  24. Suzette

    While having the test done do you feel like your gagging? And how do you feel during the 48 hours or while the capsule is inserted? Sick? Gagging?

    I saw a new doctor yesterday for yet another opinion on my horrible acid reflux I had for 6 plus years and he suggested the 24 hour ph test but I heard that makes you gag throughout the whole 24 hours but I was reading up on forums about it and someone mentioned that they couldn’t handle the 24 hour ph test do to all the gagging and removed it after 4hours.

    Just curious if this test is the same. If not I am for sure asking my doctor to do this test instead because my gag reflux is HORRIBLE and I don’t want to deal with that for 24 hours.

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