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Lenox Hill Hospital Offers New Breakthrough Test to Diagnose Acid Reflux Disease

January 3, 2003

Doctors at Lenox Hill Hospital are the first in the New York Metropolitan area to use a catheter-free method to test for acid reflux disease. Recent studies have shown this method to be better tolerated by patients being diagnosed for gastro-esophageal reflux disease (GERD) and that the results are diagnostically more reliable than traditional 24-hour measures.

GERD, occurs when acid backs up from the stomach into the esophagus. It is a widespread problem that causes symptoms such as heartburn, regurgitation, chest pain, respiratory symptoms such as cough and asthma, and throat symptoms. Over years, it can lead to an increased risk of esophageal cancer and scarring of the lungs and vocal cords. An accurate diagnosis of GERD with pH monitoring can help to reduce long-term medical costs associated with expensive drug therapy and the possible serious effects of not treating the disease, including Barrett's esophagus, a precursor to cancer.

"Ambulatory pH monitoring is the gold standard for diagnosing GERD, but is not used as often as it might be, because the traditional test using a nasal catheter is complicated and uncomfortable for the patient," said Albert Harary, MD, a gastroenterologist at Lenox Hill Hospital. "With a more patient-acceptable way to monitor acid, this new capsule pH test will be used more routinely, resulting in better GERD diagnosis and treatment."

The new diagnostic test, consists of a small capsule (about the size of a vitamin tablet) that is temporarily attached to the wall of the esophagus. The capsule transmits pH data to a pager-sized radio receiver worn by the patient. Data is later downloaded for computer analysis. The capsule detaches and passes harmlessly through the digestive tract after several days.

"Since patients are more active than they would be with a nasal catheter, the test is more reliable in identifying reflux that could otherwise be missed," added Dr. Harary.

Lenox Hill Hospital is a center for advanced gastrointestinal techniques and is a leader in new diagnostic tests and treatments for reflux and many other gastrointestinal disorders.

To learn more, contact Lenox Hill Hospital's Gastroenterology Division at (212) 434-2158.

Members of the press seeking information about Lenox Hill Hospital should call the Public Relations Department at (212) 434-2400.