What is a BRAVO pH capsule study?
A BRAVO PH capsule study is similar to a pH probe study but uses a tiny disposable capsule that contains a magnet, rather than a pressure-sensitive tube.
Using an endoscope, a physician will attach the capsule to your esophagus wall a few centimeters above the gastro-esophageal junction (the place where your esophagus meets your stomach. For the following 24-96 hours, the BRAVO capsule wirelessly transmits information about your esophageal acid activity to a receiver worn at your belt. You will be asked to press buttons on the receiver to record symptoms and periods of eating or sleeping and to keep a diary of your food intake and activity.
Several days later, the capsule will detach from the esophagus and travel through your digestive tract until it’s passed naturally from your body.
You will be asked not to eat and drink for several hours before the procedure and you may have to stop taking certain medications. There may also be a list of food and drink you’re asked to avoid during the test period, such as acidic drinks like fruit juice, fizzy drinks, cordials, alcohol, and foods like fruit yogurt, as these may interfere with the test.
This procedure may be more convenient and comfortable than a standard pH probe study, which involves having a nasogastric tube in place for 24 hours. You can also take a shower and take the receiver off to sleep, as the receiver will still record information even if it’s a few feet away.
Who needs a Bravo pH capsule study?
A BRAVO capsule study or test may be recommended if you suffer from heartburn, chest pain, chronic and/or night-time cough, chest pain and asthma. The test will help to diagnose GORD (gastroesophageal reflux disease) or LPR (laryngopharyngeal or ‘silent’ reflux) and determine their severity.
A BRAVO capsule test isn’t suitable for everyone. If you have a pacemaker, implantable defibrillator or neurostimulator, a history of bleeding disorders, or suffer from stricture, esophageal varices or severe esophagitis, a different kind of pH test will be recommended. Due to the magnet inside the capsule, the BRAVO test is also unsuitable for anyone needing an MRI scan within a month of the test.