Heartburn and Acid Reflux Testing - Endoscopy Video
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Video:Heartburn and Acid Reflux Testing - Endoscopy

with Dr. David H. Robbins, MD, MSc

If you've had long-standing heartburn, your doctor may order a test called an endoscopy to evaluate for signs and symptoms of something called gastroesophageal reflux disease.See Transcript

Transcript:Heartburn and Acid Reflux Testing - Endoscopy

Hi, I'm Dr. David Robbins, the director of endoscopic ultrasound at the Beth Israel Medical Center in New York City. If you've had long-standing heartburn, your doctor may order a test called an endoscopy to evaluate for signs and symptoms of something called gastroesophageal reflux disease.

Heartburn, Acid Reflux, and Endoscopy

Heartburn is an incredibly common complaint. If you have symptoms that bother you more than two to three times a week, or if you're not getting relief with over the counter medicines, it's appropriate to get an endoscopy to look for signs of acid reflux disease.

Endoscopy is a painless procedure that usually takes place in the morning. The preparation for endoscopy usually involves fasting after midnight the night before the test.

It's important to go over your medication list with your doctor, because if you're taking a medicine such as aspirin or other blood thinners, those may need to be stopped in advance of your procedure.

The Endoscopy Procedure

Hi. I'm Dr. Robbins. Thank you so much for coming down this morning. So, today we're going to do an endoscopy. You've already had this procedure before, so this will be similar. You'll be lying on your side, and we'll have the anesthesiologist give you enough sedation so that you're totally comfortable.

We're using these monitors this morning to monitor your heart, and your blood pressure, and how much oxygen there is in your blood.

As you can see, she is sedated. She's quite comfortable. She's breathing on her own. And this is a painless procedure.

So, we're going to be passing a thin flexible camera over her tongue and once we get into position, we will then very shortly be in the esophagus, which is that part, again, where the food travels down. And that's really the area that you want to focus when you're looking and evaluating for heartburn or evidence of what we call erosive disease, or acid injury.

Heartburn and Acid Reflux Complications

About one in ten patients who suffer from acid reflux disease can develop a condition known as Barrett's esophagus. Barrett's esophagus is a pre-cancerous condition of the esophagus. A small fraction of patients with Barrett's esophagus can develop esophageal cancer at some point in their life. And those patients need to be monitored.

Heartburn can sometimes be associated with something called a hiatal hernia, which gets its name from "hiatus" or opening. A hiatal hernia occurs when the stomach is allowed to roll up alongside the esophagus, and in the process it stretches that valve that normally keeps acid from backwashing up. When acid backwashes up from the stomach into the esophagus, it creates that burning sensation that we call heartburn.

After Your Endoscopy

Most exams take no more than five or ten minutes. At the end of the procedure, you'll be brought to the recovery room where you will gradually wake up. You can typically expect to go home within an hour after the conclusion of the procedure. And your doctor will be available to go over some results with you right away, and other results, such as a biopsy report, may take a few days.

Thanks for watching. For more information about heartburn and acid reflux disease, visit us at heartburn.about.com.
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