The Bernstein test is a method to reproduce symptoms of heartburn. It is usually done with other tests to measure esophageal function.
Acid perfusion test
How the test is performed
The test is done in a laboratory. A nasogastric (NG) tube will be inserted through one side of your nose and down into your esophagus. Mild hydrochloric acid will be sent down the tube, followed by salt water (saline) solution.
You will be asked to tell the health care team about any pain or discomfort you have during the test.
How to prepare for the test
You should not eat or drink anything for 8 hours before the test.
How the test will feel
You may have a gagging feeling and some discomfort when the tube is put into place. The acid may cause symptoms of heartburn. Your throat may be sore after the test.
Why the test is performed
The test attempts to reproduce symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux (stomach acids coming back up into the esophagus).
The test results will be negative.
What abnormal results mean
Positive test indicates that the symptoms are caused by esophageal reflux.
What the risks are
There is a risk of gagging or vomiting.
Fass R. Evaluation and diagnosis of noncardiac chest pain. Dis Mon. 2008;54:627-641.
Christian Stone, MD, Division of Gastroenterology, Washington University in St. Louis School of Medicine, St. Louis, MO. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.
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