What is a pH study?
A 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 tube 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.
- The 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.
- Please let the Consultant know if your child has any allergies especially to adhesive tapes.
- Your child can wear his own clothes to theatre and may be accompanied to theatre by both parents. Only one parent is allowed in the anaesthetic room.
What does the test involve?
This test involves your child having a tube passed down his nose into his oesophagus and secured to the cheek with adhesive tape. The other end of the probe is attached to a small data recorder which records the pH levels in the oesophagus. This may be performed by endoscopy under a general anaesthetic. Rarely your child may require an x-ray to confirm the position of the probe.
What happens afterwards?
Once the probe is in the correct position the data recorder will be attached to the probe. This is in a little bag and should be worn by your child for the duration of the test. The staff in the recovery department will turn on the data recorder.
- Once the probe is in the correct position the data recorder will be attached to the probe. This is in a little bag and should be worn by your child for the duration of the test. The staff in the recovery department will turn on the data recorder.
- A diary will be given to you and it will have your child’s name, Date of birth, Hospital number and any special instruction the consultant has requested.
- You will be shown how to operate the data recorder. 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.
- Your child should resume normal activities. Running or jogging should be discouraged to prevent data recorder dropping because the data recorder 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 hours. After this time the data recorder must be returned to the hospital so that the data can be analysed.
- Your child does not need to come back. If you wish you can be shown how to safely remove and dispose of the tube.
- Please recommence all prescribed anti-reflux medication when the study has finished until you see the consultant for the results of the pH study.
Are there any risks?
- Your child may have a nose bleed.
- Your child may pull out the probe.
When do I get the results?
The results will be available at the next follow up appointment with your consultant.