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What is BRAVO ph testing?

BRAVO pH testing is a minimally invasive investigation that evaluates the level of acidity in your oesophagus. Gastroenterologists at The London Clinic use the test to discover why you may have acid reflux, heartburn or problems swallowing

It is often used in conjunction with oesophageal manometry, so that your consultant gets more detailed information about the health and function of your oesophagus. 

The oesophagus is the muscular tube that connects your mouth to your stomach. It contracts to propel food down the digestive tract. Acid can flow back from the stomach into the oesophagus, decreasing the pH in the area. This can cause pain, heartburn and inflammation, over time it can also lead to damage to the delicate lining of the oesophagus. 

In BRAVO pH testing, a transmitter is placed in the oesophagus during endoscopy. It monitors changing pH levels over time. The London Clinic provides BRAVO pH testing in the calm comfort of our purpose-built Endoscopy Unit.

With world-leading consultant gastroenterologists, the very latest equipment and an expert multidisciplinary team, our patients have given The London Clinic Endoscopy Unit a satisfaction rating of between 98 and 100%.

Understanding your investigation

The London Clinic has a state-of-the-art Endoscopy Unit. It is the only independent private healthcare provider offering a Saturday service, giving busy patients more flexibility and choice over when to have their investigation. 

We have a team of experienced consultant gastroenterologists that have the skills and experience to perform your gastroscopy and place the BRAVO capsule. Our doctors will also carefully explain the results of pH testing and take time to discuss your treatment options.

Why would I need BRAVO pH testing?

BRAVO pH testing is performed to diagnose conditions that affect the health and function of the oesophagus. Your consultant may arrange the test to investigate symptoms including:

  • Acid reflux
  • Heartburn
  • Pain on swallowing
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Chest pain unrelated to the heart

What is the preparation for BRAVO pH testing?

The BRAVO capsule is placed during an upper GI endoscopy. For this you will need to have an empty stomach, so your doctor will advise that you shouldn’t eat on the day of the procedure.

Our expert Endoscopy Unit team will provide you with more detailed guidance on exactly what you can eat and drink prior to the procedure. They will also advise on whether to take any medication, such as antacids. These will affect the levels of acidity in your oesophagus, so your consultant may tell you to stop taking drugs a week or more before the test.

It’s important that your consultant is aware of all medications, even those that you purchase over the counter. 

BRAVO pH testing facts

Your consultant will perform the gastroscopy and insert the BRAVO capsule as an outpatient procedure. No anaesthetic is necessary; however, sedation can be used to reduce discomfort and anxiety. At The London Clinic, you can choose whether you would prefer to be sedated or not. 

Your consultant will spray a local anaesthetic in your mouth, to numb your throat. 

They will then insert the thin, flexible tube into your mouth. They may ask you to swallow, to help the endoscope pass down your throat. 
The tube will be passed into oesophagus, there is a small camera on the end of the device, which relays high-quality images to a computer screen.

The BRAVO device will be implanted in the wall of the oesophagus. It will transmit pH readings to a receiver that will be strapped around your waist on a belt. 

When in place, you may be aware that there is something there, but it shouldn’t be painful. You will be able to go home, eat, drink and get on with normal activities. The procedure is usually completed in under half an hour.

BRAVO pH testing recovery

Most patients having BRAVO pH testing without sedation at The London Clinic are back to normal straight after the procedure and can continue with usual activities. 

However, if you have sedation, you will need to recover in our comfortable unit for an hour or so, until you no longer feel drowsy. 

You will need an escort to take you home and stay with you until the next morning. You should avoid alcohol and shouldn’t drive, work or use machinery for 24 hours, as you won’t be as mentally alert as usual until the sedative has passed through your system.

During the period of the test, you will be asked to complete a diary detailing your food, drink and any symptoms you experience. The receiver will record the pH data for 48 hours, after which you will be instructed on returning it to the clinic.

Around 5 to 12 days after insertion the probe naturally falls off and is naturally passed from the body in the stools. It is disposable and can be flushed away safely.

Your consultant will arrange an appointment to discuss the results in detail, address any worries that you have and develop a customised treatment strategy to help control your symptoms.

Treatment cost

The London Clinic offers affordable, competitive self-pay packages for certain treatments. An All-Inclusive Package for this treatment is available from £2,480.

Patients have the option to spread the cost of treatment with Chrysalis Finance.

Please call +44 (0)20 3613 7502 to speak to our helpful team to find out more and to book an appointment.

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