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New Procedure Takes Pain Out Of Heartburn, Reflux Testing

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ROCKY MOUNT, N.C. — Anyone who has gastroesophageal reflux disease or severe heartburn will probably say it is an unpleasant condition.

Doctors say diagnosing the problem is also frustrating, but new and more comfortable ways to diagnose acid reflux are making a diagnosis easier.

Leonard Love has suffered from heartburn for more than seven years. He said it is often extremely painful.

"Sometimes it feels like a heart attack," he said.

When patients are tested for heartburn, they usually wear a tube for 24 hours that runs through their nose and into their esophagus.

"It was extremely uncomfortable. It was visually not too pleasing," said Dr. Chris Dengler.

The Rocky Mount Heartburn Treatment Center is the first in the state to use a new device called the wireless Bravo monitor to measures acid levels without the tubes.

Love was one of the first patients to try the new monitors.

During the procedure, Dengler numbed Love's throat and gave him a tiny capsule. The whole process took a few minutes.

The capsule then measured pH levels in the esophagus and sent information to a small computer that Love wore on his belt.

"That will give us valuable information as to how severe Leonard's acid reflux is," said Dengler.

Both Dengler and Love said they are excited about the new procedure.

"I work on automobiles for a living. I love to race and something comes out that's new and makes the car faster, I'm excited about it. I noticed he's the same way I am," said Love.

Patients wear the device for 48 hours. A few days later, the capsule falls off the esophagus and is passed through the body.


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