Bravo™ pH Monitoring System
A pH monitoring study is designed to assess whether acid is refluxing into the esophagus from the stomach. Normally, the pH (or acid levels) in the esophagus should be neutral, whereas acid is normally only found within the stomach. A Bravo capsule is a tiny computer chip about the size of a gel capsule that measures acid levels and transmits data wirelessly to a recorder about the size of a cell phone, which is carried with you during the study period. The capsule is clipped to the lining of the esophagus during an upper endoscopy. The capsule has a battery life of approximately 48 hours, and during that period of time will record any episodes of acid refluxing backwards into the esophagus where it should not be. Because it is internal, patients can maintain regular activity and diet, giving the results of the study a true assessment of what is occurring internally on a normal daily basis.
The capsule typically sloughs off and passes within a few days. Rarely are people sensitive to the capsule while in place, most do not feel anything while it is recording the data. Patients record when they are eating and lying down as this does make some difference for when symptoms occur, as well as being able to hit a button at times that symptoms are occurring. This helps correlate the symptoms with any acid reflux occurring internally. After the 48 hours of the study the recorder is returned, and the data downloaded into a computer formula that can help determine the extent of the acid reflux.