Bravo pH Study (children over 3yrs)

What is a bravo pH study?

A bravo pH study is an investigation to measure and record Gastro-Oesophageal Reflux (GOR).GOR is when the contents of the stomach are regurgitated back into the oesophagus (swallowing tube). It requires a capsule to be placed into the oesophagus.


Why is it needed?

This test is required to enable your Consultant to determine if your child’s symptoms are due to GOR. If GOR occurs on a regular basis it can cause permanent damage to the oesophagus or lungs. The pH study will also allow your Consultant to see its severity and devise a plan for treatment or further investigations if necessary.


What happens before the pH study?

  • The Consultant will explain the procedure to you and get informed consent. 
  • Consultant may ask you to stop any anti-reflux medication before the test. 
  • Please let the Consultant know if your child has a history of aspiration


What does the test involve?

This test involves your child having a capsule placed directly into the oesophagus at endoscopy under a general anaesthetic. The capsule measures pH levels in the oesophagus and transmits readings by radio telecommunications to a receiver. 


What happens afterwards?

  • The staff in the recovery department will turn on the receiver.
  • You will be shown how to operate the receiver. It is important to press the symptom buttons and meal buttons and record them on the diary you will be given. This helps the consultant in assessing your child’s condition.
  • Occasionally spasm of the oesophagus can occur and medicine to treat the pain would be prescribed before you leave the hospital.
  • Your child should resume normal activities. Running or jogging should be discouraged to prevent data recorder dropping because the receiver may break and lose its data. Please ensure the data recorder securely attached to your child at all times.
  • Typically the test last for 24-48 hours. After this time the receiver must be returned to the hospital so that the data can be analysed.
  • The normal activities such as swallowing, eating and drinking will dislodge the capsule and it should be passed over the next 7 – 10 days, depending on your child’s bowel habit. It does not need to be returned just flushed away with the stool.
  •  Your child should not undergo a Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) examination or be near any powerful magnetic fields until after the capsule has left the body. The manufactures of the capsule recommend this should be for at least 30 days. 
  • Please recommence all prescribed anti-reflux medication when the study has finished until you see the consultant for the results of the pH study. If you have any concerns please contact your Consultant.

Are there any risks?

  • The capsule can become dislodged before the study is completed.
  • The capsule may get stuck and require a further endoscopy to remove it.


When do I get the results?

The results will be available at the next follow up appointment with your consultant.