Laryngopharyngeal Reflux Disease, or LPR, is a condition characterized by the frequent reflux of acidic stomach juices into the back of the throat. The condition, which is often referred to as “silent reflux,” is known for its atypical acid reflux symptoms.
Many of those who suffer from LPR do not experience heartburn. Instead, their symptoms typically present as hoarseness, continual need to clear the throat, an irritated throat, a chronic cough, shortness of breath, and/or recurrent sinus infections that aren’t due to another condition.
Because of its strange symptoms, LPR can sometimes go undiagnosed. If these symptoms sound familiar, though, you may want to speak to a reflux doctor about LPR, who will probably conduct a test to examine whether or not you suffer from the condition.
There are several ways of diagnosing LPR, such as with a barium esophagram, an esophageal manometry, a 48 hour Ph capsule, and a 24 hour Ph impedance test. Today, we’re going to discuss the last of these.
A Ph Impedance Test, or as it’s commonly known, an impedance test, is a diagnostic tool that monitors reflux in your esophagus for a given period of time (about 24 hours). The device carries a small acid-sensitive tip that can determine the Ph of the reflux and its frequency. These measurements, along with the patient’s symptoms, will help determine whether the patient is suffering from LPR, or “silent reflux.”
An impedance test is carried out with the help of a probe called an impedance Ph probe, which works as a catheter. The probe is inserted into the patient’s nostril and is lowered through their esophagus.
The long, tubed catheter is carried over the patient’s shoulder and connects to a recording device which is attached to the patient’s belt. In order for the test to work, the patient’s catheter must remain in place for a full 24 hours. After this amount of time, the patient may return to their doctor for the device to be removed.
If you’re expecting to have to take a Ph impedance test, it is likely that your doctor will ask you to discontinue any proton pump inhibitors you may be taking about a week before the exam. Once the catheter is inserted, you may experience some soreness in your throat and difficulty eating or drinking. You may also experience difficulty sleeping due to the catheter.
If your throat is sore and uncomfortable, your doctor will probably recommend that you sip some water. After a few hours, you may start to notice the catheter less and experience less discomfort. Remember, the test only lasts 24 hours; you can get through it!
For more information on how a Ph impedance test works, or if you have any questions about diagnosing LPR, give us a call or book an appointment. Our two reflux surgeons are ranked among the best in the country and the state. They’ll be able to walk you through any diagnostic procedure you may need.