24hr pH manometry

In July 2007 I had 24hr pH manometry to assess my suitability for fundoplication operation.

I wrote this account at the time:

Sitting here, wearing my recorder linked to a wire coming out of my nose and with raging heartburn.

I started the oesophageal manometry this morning. Using the same anaesthetising spray they use on the throat for gastroscopy, the nurse sprayed up my nose. It burned as it hit the back of the nose, and when it hit the throat it made me want to swallow repeatedly. Then the tube was pushed through. Uncomfortable but not painful. Lying down, the initial test took 20 minutes with the nurse moving the tube a centimetre at a time and feeding me teaspoonfuls of water to swallow. I was glad when it was over. Then it was removed and the wire inserted. It is fairly stiff so no opportunity to lay it neatly against the skin; it is visibly obvious to others and is in my field of view, too - and gets knocked by the tumbler or mug if I drink. The recorder is the size of a personal CD player and hangs by a shoulder strap around my neck. When I said I didn’t know how I’d sleep with it, I was told that others have managed it ok. (Hope I do: I’ve had to sit up during the night in the last couple of days whilst I’ve been off my ppi.) I’m getting used to it, though every time I swallow, it feels like I have a sore throat and my nose feels like I’ve got a cold. The worst part is not being permitted to take any sort of antacid medication.

There are three switches on the device. I have to move one whenever I start and stop eating (though not when drinking), another to indicate when I lie down or stand (or sit) up and an “event” button to press whenever I experience unpleasant symptoms like excessive heartburn, reflux or coughing. There is also a record sheet on which I record these events. (How do I record continual burning? – repeated pressing of the button?)

Roll on tomorrow when it comes out and I can go back on my omeprazole. I just hope this test will help my doctor understand the peculiarities of my manifestation of the condition.

I have told it like it is, warts and all. I was dreading it but didn’t want my wife to see that so appeared to approach it with stoicism - but it’s not something to get worried about. I have day-to-day contact with others who have to go through things considerably worse. I’m sure after it’s over, I’ll forget all about it.


When I got the results a couple of weeks later, it showed a DeMeester score of 179. (Anything over 14.7 is considered high acid reflux.) And much of the time my pH was around 1 (when it should normally be around 4.)