Gastroesophageal reflux disease
The Bravo system allows doctors to quickly and easily diagnose gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). Many people occasionally experience heartburn when acids and other substances flow up from the stomach and into the esophagus.
The condition is called GERD when it occurs frequently (usually more than twice a week). GERD can cause difficulty swallowing and changes to the esophageal cells, a precancerous condition called Barrett's Esophagus.
GERD was commonly diagnosed using a cumbersome, uncomfortable system in which a tube was inserted in a patient's nostril and down into the stomach. The tube remained there several days, so samples of stomach contents could be gathered and analyzed.
The Bravo system involves inserting a small capsule about the size of a gelcap into the patient's esophagus. The capsule measures the amount of acid in the esophagus and transfers the information to a pager-sized receiving device clipped to the patient's waistband. During the test period - usually 24 to 48 hours - patients also record their symptoms and activities in a special diary.
After the test period, the physician uses information from the Bravo receiver and diary to make an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan. After a few days, the small capsule naturally falls off the wall of the esophagus, passes through the digestive tract and is expelled naturally.