3 Ways To Diagnosing Acid Reflux In Infants

If your baby is healthy and growing well, the doctor may make a diagnosis of reflux on a parent's description of symptoms and feeding history, and a physical exam alone. However, your baby's doctor may order tests if he or she suspects a more serious condition, such as GERD. In these cases, diagnostic tests may include :

3 Ways To Diagnosing Acid Reflux In Infants

1. Lab Tests

It can consist of various blood and urine tests to identify or rule out possible causes of recurring vomiting and poor weight gain.

2. Esophageal PH Monitoring

This test will measure the acidity in your baby's esophagus. PH Monitor Examination is done with a thin, plastic tube with a sensor that measures the amount of acid backing up into the esophagus. This procedure is often done when GERD symptoms are present but an endoscope exam doesn't detect.

  • The doctor inserts a tubular probe through the nose and into the esophagus. The tube stops just above the lower esophageal sphincter (LES).

  • The tube is left in place for 24 hours. The patient is encouraged to engage in normal activities.

  • The patient keeps a record of any symptoms that are suspected to be acid reflux. The patient also will record other symptoms, such as coughing and wheezing. This can help the doctor determine if acid reflux is related to unexplained asthmatic or other respiratory symptoms.

3. Upper Endoscopy

A tube with a camera lens and light is inserted through your baby's mouth and into esophagus and stomach. The doctor may use this procedure to see if there is a narrowing (stricture) or inflammation (esophagitis) in the esophagus.

The upper endoscopy (also known as esophagogastroduodenoscopy or EGD) allows the doctor to examine the inside of the patient's esophagus, stomach, and duodenum (the first part of the small intestine) with an instrument called an endoscope, a thin flexible lighted tube. The doctor will be able to see the walls and tissue of the upper digestive tract, and will be able to detect disorders such as strictures (narrowed areas), hiatal hernias, ulcers and tumors.

  • The patient is not to eat anything for at least six hours before the procedure.
  • A local anesthetic will be sprayed into the patient's throat to suppress the gag reflex, and an intravenous sedative that will help the patient relax.
  • The endoscope is then slowly passed into the patient's mouth and down the esophagus. The gag reflex and the urge to vomit usually pass once the tube is in the esophagus. The tube will not interfere with breathing.
  • Once the endoscope is in place, the doctor will be able to examine the esophagus and stomach through a tiny camera, and detect any abnormalities. Other instruments can be inserted through the endoscope tube, which will allow the doctor to perform biopsies if such conditions as cancer or infections are evident.
  • The patient may experience a sore throat for a few days after the procedure. This is common. If complications, such as vomiting a large amount of blood or severe stomach pains, occur, the doctor should be notified immediately.