Gastroesophageal Reflux: A Cause of Breathing Problems
A Cause of Breathing Problems
Most of the time, by hearing the parents' story and seeing the
child is enough to make a diagnosis. Sometimes test may be needed.
The two most common tests used to diagnose reflux are the barium
swallow (also called upper GI series or esophagram) and the pH probe
- The barium swallow is a special x-ray. The child swallows a
chalky-white liquid called barium that can be seen on x-rays.
A video x-ray machine follows the barium so doctors can see if
there are twists, kinks or narrow spaces in the upper bowels (intestines).
It also may show the barium move from the stomach back into the
esophagus. If this is seen during the barium swallow, it often
means that reflux is causing the problem. Yet, there are many
children who have severe reflux and show a normal barium swallow.
about this test.
- pH probe is a small tube with a sensor device on the end. It
goes through the child's nose and down the esophagus to the top
entrance of the stomach. The sensor measures the acid that leaves
the stomach. The sensor may be left in place for about 24 hours.
The pH probe is more accurate than the barium swallow for finding
reflux. But some children with breathing problems caused by reflux
may have a normal pH probe result.
More about this test. (PDF)
No test is 100% accurate. Sometimes the best way to diagnose reflux
is to treat it with medication and see if the symptoms improve.
about Pediatric Reflux