Significantly reduced acid detection at 10 centimeters compared to 5 centimeters above lower esophageal sphincter in patients with acid reflux

Am J Gastroenterol. 1993 Jun;88(6):842-6.


Ambulatory pH monitoring of the esophagus is carried out by positioning a pH sensor 5 cm above the lower esophageal sphincter (LES). There are several techniques to locate the LES, and each method has a different margin of error. This work used dual pH sensors to monitor simultaneously at two different levels (5 and 10 cm above the LES) in order to establish the possible magnitude of error that could arise from inaccurate placement of a pH probe. Thirty-four patients with symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux (GER) were studied. They were grouped as 20 patients with pathological reflux (GER group) and 14 patients with physiological reflux, based on a reflux score derived by Johnson and DeMeester for distal esophageal pH monitoring. When the reflux scores were compared, the difference between the two monitoring levels was statistically significant in the GER group (p < 0.001) but not in the physiological reflux group (p = 0.09). In the GER group, the difference in the Johnson and DeMeester score accounted for a change in clinical diagnosis in nine of the 20 patients if the pH probe was placed at 10 cm above the upper margin of LES. Proximal reflux episodes (10 cm above LES) were preceded by distal reflux episodes (5 cm above LES) in 97% (878/901) of cases. Accurate probe placement is essential in the diagnosis of GER.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Esophagogastric Junction*
  • Female
  • Gastric Acidity Determination / instrumentation
  • Gastroesophageal Reflux / diagnosis*
  • Humans
  • Hydrogen-Ion Concentration
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Monitoring, Physiologic / methods
  • Monitoring, Physiologic / standards*
  • Predictive Value of Tests