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November 30, 2012

Ochsner Test Pinpoints Heartburn Cause

Heartburn is widespread among today’s adult population, impacting millions of Americans, but some fail to get relief from the standard treatments and prescribed diet changes. “When we see patients who have not gained relief from symptoms despite having tried everything from antacids to avoiding food triggers, we have to delve into their problem more closely,” says Ochsner Medical Center – Baton Rouge Gastroenterologist Gregory Gaspar, MD. Dr. Gaspar and other Ochsner Medical Center – Baton Rouge physicians now have a new diagnostic tool available to do just that.

PH-impedance testing is used to determine whether the patient is experiencing acid reflux or non-acid reflux. The test results can lead to a new treatment plan or an adjustment in the current plan. “Impedance testing allows us to examine in closer detail exactly what is happening. With that information we may change the patient’s medications or dosage or even recommend surgery if necessary. In the end, the patient should see greatly improved results because the more precise details the test generates allow us to formulate a better, more individualized treatment plan,” says Dr. Gaspar. He adds the test has proven effective in determining a cause in patients with frequent, unresponsive heartburn and those with chronic coughing or epigastria pain.

The impedance test is conducted over a 24 hour period. During that time the patient wears a thin catheter which is passed through the nose and into the esophagus. The monitor records and charts all reflux episodes which are then analyzed by the physician along with input from the patient as to when they experienced symptoms. Together this information alerts the physician as to which type of reflux is present and how often it occurs.

Gaspar says that Ochsner Medical Center – Baton Rouge is currently one of a few in the southeast region of the country to offer this level of precise testing, with patients coming from New Orleans, Mississippi and Florida to have the test performed.

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