- If there is a suspected diagnosis of esophagitis, then an endoscopy examination will have to be done.
- A narrow, flexible tube, with a light, is passed through the mouth and throat and on to the esophagus.
- Any injury or ulceration in the esophagus can be seen by this procedure.
- A small bit of the lining may be taken for biopsy, to check for any abnormalities.
- A white fluid containing barium (barium swallow) is swallowed, this enables the doctor to observe the passage of the fluid on X-ray.
- It can be studied whether the esophagus is ulcerated or narrowed.
- Diagnosis by barium meal X-ray may also show evidence of hiatus hernia.
3. 24 hour testing
- This can be used for measuring the acid levels in the esophagus
- In this procedure a fine tube is passed into the esophagus and left there for 24 hours.
- A special tip at the end of the tube measures the acidity at frequent intervals.
- This will give an indication of how often and how long the reflux episodes last.
4. Diagnostic Enigma
Reflux or heart burn when associated with chest pain can be a cause of anxiety as many conditions like angina or heart attacks can also mimic similar pain.
There are many physicians the world over, who have treated heart attacks as reflux erroneously and paid a heavy price.
Hence it is important to get the diagnosis of reflux right so that more serious conditions are not missed.
Some of the conditions that can mimic heart-burn include the following:
- Myocardial Infarction or heart attack
- Cholecystitis - Inflammation of Gall bladder
- Peptic Ulcer Disease
- Schwann, Theodor. Über das Wesen des Verdauungsprocesses. Arch Anat Physiol Wissensch Med. 1836; 90-138 [Reprinted in Selected Readings in the History of Physiology, 2nd ed. Translated by Fulton JF, Wilson LG. Springfield, IL: Charles C Thomas; 1966, pp. 190-2.
- Manipal Manual Of Surgery: K. Rajgopal Shenoy. MBBS, MS. (2000 EDITION)