pH Studies

Gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (GORD) is very common. It occurs when the acidic contents of the stomach flow into the oesophagus (swallowing tube). This can cause a range of symptoms including:

  • Burning chest pain
  • Indigestion
  • Upper abdominal pain
  • Chronic cough
  • Chronic sore throat
  • Recurrent chest infections
  • Bad breath
  • Poor dentition

Typically these symptoms can be treated with antacid remedies, acid blocking drugs (eg omeprazole, pantoprazole, lansoprazole or ranitidine) although these are not always effective. Often a Gastroscopy is needed to confirm the diagnosis and exclude complications.

When drug treatment is not effective, not tolerated or anti-reflux surgery is to be considered then confirming the diagnosis with accurate physiological testing is essential.

Ambulatory 24 hour oesophageal pH studies are one of the best ways to confirm the presence of reflux and its severity. A thin flexible catheter is passed through the nose and down the oesophagus. It is attached to a small data recorder and measures pH (acidity) in the oesophagus. The catheter remains in place for 24 hours. The patient can also record when they have symptoms which can be correlated with the pH recording. The data is then downloaded into a computer and analysed by our Gastroenterologists.

Ambulatory 24 hour oesophageal pH studies are performed by our Scientific Officer Dr Bruce Dobbs and Gastroenterologist Dr Bruce Chapman. Dr Bruce Dobbs is one of the most experienced people in New Zealand at performing pH studies having performed over 1500 studies.

Digestive Health Services is a Southern Cross Affiliated Provider for oesophageal pH studies.