Esophageal ph-metry

"Placement of the probe may cause some discomfort, such as sneezing or nausea, but a local anesthetic can be used to lessen these effects".


Esophageal ph-metry is a study that serves to quantify acid, to know at what times of the day the greatest acid reflux occurs, and to correlate symptoms with the existence of reflux (that is, to know if symptoms occur when there is an excess of esophageal acid).

This data will be used to fine-tune drug treatment or to indicate surgical treatment.

In the Clinic we have a device (Bravo capsule) to measure esophageal ph that does not require the placement of the probe.

During a conventional gastroscopy, the device can be placed in the esophagus. This device is capable of recording the ph for 24 hours.

In cases where it is useful, the study can be extended up to 96 hours. As the probe is not worn, it is not uncomfortable.

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When is esophageal ph-metry indicated?

The results can help identify causes of chest pain, burning or, in some cases, problems such as difficulty or discomfort during the passage of food from the mouth to the stomach.

It may also be useful in planning some types of surgery or determining the effectiveness of previous surgery.

Most frequent indications of this test:

  • Dysphagia.
  • Chronic gastritis.
  • Gastroesophageal reflux.

Do you have any of these diseases?

It may be necessary to perform an esophageal ph-metry

How is esophageal ph-metry performed?

Before starting the scan, the doctor who is going to perform it will explain to you what it consists of and what you must do to have the least discomfort during the placement of the probe and to obtain the results expected from this scan.

Placement of the probe

Initially, a thin tube is placed, usually through the nose, into the stomach. This is the only maneuver that, in some people, can be uncomfortable, producing sneezing (when passing the tube through the nose) or nausea (when passing through the throat). It is not a painful test.

In some cases where the placement of the tube is difficult, it may be necessary to use a radiological control or assistance through endoscopy.


The probe is left in the lower esophagus and connected to a portable recorder, where the esophageal pH (the degree of acidity) is recorded for the duration of the study.

In order to get reliable results, you should follow some indications (such as pointing out when you eat, when you lie down, when you have discomfort or when you take medication etc.) The way to indicate these events depends on the recording system and you will be told when the probe is placed.

In principle, and unless otherwise indicated, it is advisable for you to lead a normal life during the time the scan lasts in order to evaluate as accurately as possible what is happening in your normal daily activity.

During the scan, you may feel the sensation of a foreign body in your throat. This discomfort is mild and decreases over time.

  • Solid and liquid food should be avoided for 12 hours before the scan (minimum time is 6 hours).
  • Smoking is also not allowed during this time.
  • There are some drugs that modify the acidity of the gastric juice and, therefore, can alter the results of this test. If you are taking medication, it is convenient that you indicate it to your doctor in order to suspend it if necessary before performing the exploration.

The probe is removed after 24 hours and the results obtained are analysed with the portable recorder. You do not need to fast to remove it.

Slight discomfort in the throat may be noted after the scan, which is mild and disappears in a short time.

This test has no major complications either during or after the exploration.

Where do we do it?


The Department of Digestive
of the Clínica Universidad de Navarra

The Digestive Department of the Clinica Universidad de Navarra is composed of a multidisciplinary team of specialists who are experts in the diagnosis and treatment of diseases of the digestive tract.

Our objective is that each diagnosis be carefully established and the treatment plan adjusted to each patient.

Imagen de la fachada de consultas de la sede en Pamplona de la Clínica Universidad de Navarra

Why at the Clinica?

  • Medical specialists who are national references.
  • Specialized nursing team.
  • Endoscopy Unit and High Risk Digestive Tumor Prevention and Consultation Unit to offer the best care to our patients.

Our team of professionals