For patients suffering from difficulty swallowing, chest pains, and even acid reflux, a new piece piece of equipment may help them find the root of the pain.
"This machine will help to access what kind of problem the patient has: measure the function of the esophagus, at the same time though it does have the capability of measuring the PH of the esophagus, where it monitors the amount of acidity," Dr. Henry Pham with St. Joseph Regional Health Center said.
For the two tests, doctors place sensory catheters through the nose and down into the esophagus, where vital information is then relayed to nearby computers.
"The sensors will detect a pressure change with the contraction of the esophagus," Pham said. "It gives us a graph and a wave form to tell us what kind of motility or movement there is."
Through tests such as the 24-hour PH study, patients can now receive more information about their reflux patterns, and acid levels. Doctors say those can cause patients varying degrees of pain and discomfort.
"Reflux disease can cause more than just the typical heartburn, indigestion and regurgitation," Pham said. "There are many unusual symptoms such as chest pain, unexplained coughing, asthma, and hoarseness of the voice."
The new state-of-the-art equipment also has one more added incentive for patients:
"It takes less than half the time of conventional equipment to do this same function," Pham said. "From the patient's standpoint it's a shorter exam and provides greater comfort."