If the symptoms persist for more than 2-3 months, an endoscopy of the esophagus, stomach and the upper part of the small intestine should be performed (so-called upper panendoscopy). Another important clarification can be the measurement of acid exposure and pressure conditions in the esophagus. These outpatient examinations are performed by means of a thin probe inserted into the esophagus, and for some time now also through a capsule inserted into the esophagus (without a probe). The results are transmitted to an electronic data carrier and then evaluated. Through these examinations, the severity of the mucosal inflammation, possible hyperacidity and inflammation, especially of the lower part of the esophagus, can be assessed, quantified and objectified. Furthermore, it is possible to determine the mobility and strength of the esophageal muscles. This is important for the so-called clearance of the esophagus: how quickly and how strongly it can transport food and especially acid that has flowed upward back into the stomach. All these findings are of great importance for a possible surgical treatment of reflux disease.
Copyright Mischa Feigel, MD