Bravo PH Monitoring

Bravo pH monitoring measures the pH in your esophagus using a small capsule attached to your esophagus. The capsule measures the frequency and duration of acid coming into your esophagus and transmits this information to a small receiver worn on your waistband like a mobile phone. This test can help identify the cause of heartburn and check for other disorders such as GERD.

What to Expect

The Bravo pH capsule takes only moments for your doctor to place in the esophagus. Following placement, the test period may last 48 hours or more, depending on what your doctor requests. Because the capsule is so small, you may eat and go about your daily routine as normal. You may feel a vague sensation that something is in your esophagus, which can be minimized by chewing food carefully and drinking liquids.

During the test period, you will keep a diary, noting the times you have acid reflux symptoms such as coughing, heartburn, regurgitation and others.

What Happens Afterwards?

After the test period is complete, return the diary and receiver to your doctor so the data can be analyzed to diagnose your condition. After several days, the capsule will naturally fall off the wall of your esophagus and pass through your digestive tract.

How to Prepare

Follow the instructions provided by your physician. Preparations may include refraining from eating and drinking after midnight the day before the capsule is placed, no solid foods after midnight, and/or holding morning medications until after the procedure.

Continue taking any prescription medications necessary for your heart, seizure, or blood pressure with a sip of water early in the morning. Take no other medications unless instructed by your doctor.

Reasons to Have Bravo pH Monitoring

  • Identify the cause of heartburn
  • Test for gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
  • Determine the effectiveness of GERD medications or surgical treatments

Risks and Complications

Bravo pH monitoring is a patient-friendly, low-risk procedure. However, complications include but are not limited to the following:

  • Perforation: Instruments may injure the GI tract wall, with possible leakage of GI contents into the body cavity. If this occurs, hospitalization or surgery may be required.
  • Bleeding: Instruments may cause bleeding. Managing this complication may include careful observation, hospitalization, transfusions, and/or a surgical operation.
  • Infection: Entry of stomach contents into the lungs may cause pneumonia. Infection of the heart valve may occur on rare occasions.
  • Premature Detachment: If the capsule detaches from the esophagus before the test period is complete, you may need to repeat the procedure.
  • Other Risks: Additional risks include reactions and complications from diseases you may already have. Instrument failure and death are extremely rare but remain remote possibilities.