Acid reflux increases long term risk of esophageal cancer . New tests help understand the cause of the disease . Hong Kong people deal with serious levels of everyday stress , which increases the risk of urban diseases , such as acid reflux . Although acid reflux is non – life – threatening , it causes negative impacts on daily life and may develop into Barrett’s esophagus or esophageal cancer in the long run . Therefore , it must be addressed early .
Surgical specialist Dr. Canon Chan explains that acid reflux is subdivided into different categories , and that tests are available to identify the specific disease and to prescribe the most suitable medication . These tests include wireless pH capsule testing and high resolution esophageal impedance manometry .
Acid reflux is the common name for gastroesophageal acid reflux disease ( GERD ) , which is when food and acid from the stomach flow back into the esophagus . It is commonly thought that this is a sign of excessive gastric acid , but it is in fact a disease that may be caused by many other problems like abnormal esophageal movemerit . lower esophageal sphincter relaxation abnormal gastric emptying . or even diaphragmatic hernia and obesity.
According to Dr. Chan , the symptoms of acid reflux caused by excessive gastric acid can be eased with medication Commonly used acid suppressing medication is effective at controlling the condition for nearly 70 % of patients , but remains unsatisfactory for 20-30 % of patients . Patents are also prone to relapse after stopping medication . It is therefore better for patients to undergo further examination to identify their specific problem for the right treatment . the past , doctors would arrange for their patients to receive a gastroesophageal pH test , where a small catheter would be inserted
into the esophagus through the nostril . The pH value in the esophagus would be monitored for 24 hours , with any abnormal acid reflux recorded by a connected device for assessment . However , the process is discomforting and may require hospitalisation . Moreover , the doctor may be unable to fully understand how the patient’s normal daily activity influences the symptoms outside the hospital .
Fortunately , in recent years , new methods have been developed to improve the accuracy of testing . As Dr. Chan notes , Doctors can now anchor a pH capsule above the esophageal sphincter while performing an endoscopy on the pritiont , to detect the acidity of gastric acid and severity reflux The dati is then transmitted wirelessly to a recorder outside the body . Patients are discharged after the endoscopy examination and can continue with their activities at home and at work afterwards .
The wireless capsule could monitor esophageal pli for up to 4 days. Doctors would have adequate time to understand the relationship between patients ‘ daily routines and acid reflux symptoms , and any improvements following medication treatment . This allows them to design more specific and individualized treatment plans for patients . The new test offers a tremendous improvement , with diagnostic accuracy up to 90 % . The capsule would also be automatically detached and passed out of the body a few days after the endoscopy examination .
Furthermore , a high resolution esophageal impedance manometry could be arranged to assess whether GERD is caused by esophageal dysfunction . ” During the examination , a soft catheter is inserted through the patient’s nostril into the esophagus and stomach to assess the contractility and pressure levels of the upper and lower esophageal sphincters and the esophagus while at rest or during swallowing , ” said Dr. Chan . ” Additionally , the reverse flow of air and fluid in the esophagus , and the contraction and relaxation of the sphincter during rest or swallowing will also be assessed , to accurately assess the function of the patient’s upper digestive system . The new soft catheter has 16 monitoring sensors , and each pressure measurement point has 12 annular pressure monitoring sensors , allowing for different locations along the upper gastrointestinal tract to be checked more accurately . Should a weak sphincter muscle be identified as the problem , surgical treatment may be considered so that the patient’s upper digestive system . The new soft catheter has 16 monitoring sensors , and each pressure measurement point has 12 annular pressure monitoring sensors , allowing for different locations along the upper gastrointestinal tract to be checked more accurately . Should a weak sphincter muscle be identified as the problem , surgical treatment may be considered so that the patient would not require long – term medication and to avoid relevant side – effects . Should a patient continue to suffer from acid reflux and shows no improvement after 4 to 6 weeks of acid suppressing medication , Dr. Chan recommends further examination to be arranged as soon as possible , as prolonged acid erosion of the esophagus can lead to serious complications such as Barrett’s esophagus or esophageal cancer . Patients should also discuss with their doctor for a more suitable and effective treatment plan to minimize unnecessary impacts on daily life.