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Diagnosis of Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)/Heartburn

Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history, and perform a physical exam. He or she will usually make an initial diagnosis of GERD based on your symptoms. In some cases, other tests will be done to confirm the diagnosis or exclude other disorders.

These tests may include:

Upper GI Series – A series of x-rays of the upper digestive system are taken after drinking a barium solution.

24-hour pH Monitoring – A probe is placed in the esophagus to keep track of the level of acidity in the lower esophagus. This is done over a 24-hour period.

Manometry – This test measures muscle pressures in the lower esophagus.

Endoscopy – A thin, lighted tube with a tiny camera attached is passed down the throat to examine the esophagus and stomach.

Endoscopy
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Biopsy – A small sample of tissue from the esophagus is removed. It is then studied to check for inflammation, cancer, or other problems.

Revision Information

  • Reviewer: Daus Mahnke, MD
  • Review Date: 09/2012 -
  • Update Date: 03/18/2013 -
  • American Academy of Family Physicians website. Available at: http://www.aafp.org/ . Accessed March 7, 2006.

  • American Gastroenterological Association website. Available at: http://www.gastro.org/ . Accessed March 6, 2006.

  • The Merck Manual of Medical Information . 17th edition. Simon and Schuster, Inc.; 2000.

  • National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases website. Available at: http://www.niddk.nih.gov/ . Accessed March 7, 2006.