Catheter-free pH Monitoring (Bravo®)

Procedure Questions

What is Catheter-free pH Monitoring (Bravo®)?

Catheter-free pH Monitoring (Bravo®) is a catheter-free test for gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). Previous methods of diagnosis and management of GERD involved the use of intrusive and less accurate catheters.

The Bravo® catheter-free experience allows for more precise and extensive data, and it provides a much more comfort able experience.

Procedure Bullet Points

Catheter-free pH Monitoring (Bravo®):

  • Is well-tolerated
  • Is more comfortable than previous diagnosis methods
  • Is more effective than previous diagnosis methods
  • Will require some anesthesia for the placement process

A small pH capsule is temporarily attached to the wall of your esophagus during an upper endoscopy. Over the next 48-96 hours, data will be collected and sent to a small, cell phone-sized receiver that you wear on your belt or waistband.

Upon completion of the Catheter-free pH Monitoring (Bravo®) test, your natural digestive processes will propel the capsule through your digestive tract.

You should look into Catheter-free pH Monitoring (Bravo®) to:

  • determine the frequency and duration of acid reflux in your esophagus
  • identify the cause of frequent heartburn and evaluate your symptoms
  • diagnose a suspected case of GERD

Your doctor will give you instructions to prepare for the Catheter-free pH Monitoring (Bravo®) procedure. Most likely, you will be asked to fast for at least 4-8 hours before the upper endoscopy.

Inform your doctor of:

  • Any medication that you take regularly, especially;
    • aspirin products
    • arthritis medications
    • blood thinners (such as Warfarin or Heparin)
    • Clopidogrel
    • Insulin
  • Any known allergies to medication
  • Any medical conditions that will require special attention, such as;
    • heart conditions
    • lung conditions
    • any other major conditions
  • If you have a pacemaker or implanted defibrillator
    • Bravo® is not recommended for people with pacemakers or implanted defibrillators

You’ll need to plan for a ride home from the office as it is not advised for patients to drive for the remainder of the day due to effects from the medication. It’s important to follow all of your doctor’s instructions.

The placement process involves an upper endoscopy. During the upper endoscopy you’ll be asked to lay on your back or on your side.

You may be given:

  • A sedative to help you relax
  • A local anesthetic to numb your throat
  • A mouth guard to wear and hold open your mouth

Your doctor will ask you to swallow as the endoscope is worked down your esophagus.

You won’t be able to speak while the endoscopy is in progress, but you will be able to breath and make noises.

You might feel:

  • Pressure in the throat and abdomen
  • A feeling of fullness as air is fed into the GI tract

Once the pH capsule has been placed in your esophagus, you’ll be sent home with your ride.

During the study you may eat normally and continue your normal routine. You can take a bath and sleep without wearing the receiver, but you must stay within 3 feet of the receiver at all times.

You may notice a slight feeling of something “stuck” in the back of your throat. Don’t be alarmed by it, it’s just the capsule. Chewing food carefully and drinking liquids may minimize this sensation. You’ll be given a diary to record certain instances.

You’ll be asked to record any times that you:

  • Eat
  • Sleep
  • Experience heartburn
  • Experience regurgitation
  • Experience chest pain

For more information about the placement of the capsule, visit the Upper Endoscopy page.

You’ll be asked to return in 48-96 hours so we can retrieve your diary and the receiver. The data will be uploaded into a computer and your doctor will analyze it to determine a diagnosis.

A few days after the study, the capsule will fall from the lining of your esophagus and pass through your digestive system. You do not need to retrieve the capsule. It can be flushed away after passing through your body.

Do not have an MRI study for 30 days after undergoing Bravo® pH monitoring.

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