Bravo Capsule Endoscopy
The Bravo pH capsule test places a small device in the esophagus, or swallowing tube, to measure what happens when a patient feels the symptoms of heartburn. It may be more comfortable for some patients than an esophageal manometry 24 hour pH study.
A doctor may recommend this test when a patient has chronic heartburn that might be caused by acid reflux, or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). It is used to confirm or rule out a diagnosis of GERD.
You will be given medication to make you feel relaxed and drowsy during the procedure. The doctor uses an endoscope – a thin, flexible tube with an image sensor and a light at its tip – to place the Bravo capsule in your esophagus. First, the doctor guides the endoscope through your mouth to a location about two inches above where the esophagus meets the stomach. The doctor then removes the endoscope and uses a special catheter to place the Bravo capsule in your esophagus.
The capsule is held in place against the lining of the esophagus with a tiny pin. The capsule – about the size of a gel cap pain reliever – contains a radio transmitter that sends data to a small receiver worn on your belt, or carried in your pocket.
Over the next 24 or 48 hours, the capsule and recorder will note what happens in your esophagus as you eat, digest and go about your daily activities. You will also write down when you feel the symptoms of heartburn, and press a button on the receiver at those moments. After the test is completed, your doctor can read the data from the recorder, and see if the acidity, or pH, in your esophagus increased when you felt the symptoms of heartburn.
The disposable capsule naturally comes loose from the esophagus and is eliminated with body wastes a day or two after the test is completed. The device does not need to be retrieved.