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Diagnostic Endoscopy for GERD Evaluation

Diagnostic Endoscopy for GERD Evaluation General Reflux, & Bariatrics Surgeon Miami

Diagnostic Endoscopy for GERD Evaluation

When your primary care physician suspects you’ve developed gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), they conduct tests to confirm the disease before recommending your treatment. Part of this treatment may include a referral to a surgeon if your GERD evaluation reveals damage to your esophagus. In Miami, Dr. Luciano Fiszer performs GERD evaluations and corrective surgery to repair hiatal hernias and eliminate the damaged connection between the stomach and the esophagus. Before surgery, Dr. Fiszer conducts a thorough examination, beginning with a diagnostic endoscopy procedure.

Undergoing a GERD Evaluation

As Catiele Antunes et al. explain in Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease, no gold-standard test exists for diagnosing GERD. Doctors rely on patient reports of symptoms and a battery of diagnostic tests to determine the presence of the disease and the extent of damage caused by it if present. The initial diagnostic testing begins with a minimally invasive procedure called diagnostic endoscopy. The patient undergoes sedation, and the doctor inserts an endoscope into the esophagus to observe the affected area, viewing the end of the esophagus and the stomach opening.

More on What Happens in an Upper Endoscopy

Because the patient undergoes sedation, they don’t feel the scope. After the procedure, the doctor documents the test and reviews the results with the patient. Dr. Fiszer uses an endoscope, a thin device shaped like a flexed tube, to snake through the throat. The light and camera on this device allow the doctor to look at the inside of your esophagus and stomach.

Biopsies Performed

During the endoscopy, the doctor may take a biopsy of the esophagus or stomach lining to test for complications of GERD. Taking these tissue samples for further testing lets the doctor rule out or diagnose conditions such as peptic ulcer disease, Barrett’s esophagus, erosive esophagitis, esophageal adenocarcinoma, and esophageal stricture.

Esophageal Improvements

If the doctor observes a narrowing of the esophagus during the endoscopy, he can dilate or stretch it during the surgery. Making this correction improves dysphagia, a condition that results in problems swallowing food and liquids.

What an Upper Endoscopy Tells the Doctor

This starting point in the diagnostic process tells Dr. Fiszer whether the esophagus has become inflamed and reveals complications, such as hernias. Evidence of other complications queues the doctor to conduct further tests. These may include:

  • Ambulatory Acid (pH) Probe Test: The doctor places a monitor in the patient’s esophagus that connects to a computer worn at the waist or shoulder. The monitor notes when stomach acid regurgitates and for how long. If indicated, the doctor typically installs this during the endoscopy but can also thread it through the patient’s nose using a catheter afterward.
  • X-rays—After swallowing a barium pill and a stomach-coating liquid, Dr. Fiszer x-rays the upper digestive system. The liquid fills the patient’s digestive tract and attaches to its lining, creating a silhouette of the stomach and esophagus. This test assists in the diagnosis of GERD and dysphagia.
  • Transnasal Esophagoscopy: Similar to an upper endoscopy, this diagnostic test examines the esophagus for damage. It also uses an endoscope that sends video of the esophagus to a video screen and recording device.
  • Esophagogastroduodenoscopy (EGD) – If Dr. Fiszer suspects GERD complications, he will also complete this test. It helps to rule out diseases such as erosive esophagitis and esophageal adenocarcinoma.
  • Esophageal Manometry: Patients who experience problems swallowing food or liquid may also undergo an esophageal manometry test to measure the esophagus’ rhythmic muscle contractions during the swallowing process.

Dr. Fiszer conducts only the tests indicated by a patient’s symptoms, so if you think you may have developed GERD or a similar disease, you won’t need to undergo every test. Every diagnostic begins with an upper endoscopy, so schedule yours as soon as possible.

Getting Started Down the Road to Recovery

If you suspect that you’ve developed more than an occasional case of acid reflux, don’t wait to make an appointment. Contact Miami Surgeon Dr. Luciano Fiszer today for an appointment to discuss GERD and other possible causes of the problems you’re experiencing when eating or after dining. Besides this simple minimally invasive surgery to diagnose it, patients can undergo surgical solutions to address GERD. You can make your appointment today to start down the road to recovery.

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