Information for the public

What tests might be needed?

Usually, no tests will be needed.

However, if the healthcare professional thinks a test may be helpful, they will discuss this in more detail, and explain what you can expect. There are several tests that can be used, depending on your child's age, symptoms and medical history.

Checking the amount of acid (pH monitoring)

This involves passing a small tube through the nose and down the throat so it can sit in the oesophagus and measure the amount of acid that comes back up over a 24‑hour period. Your child will usually need to stay in hospital for this test. Occasionally, another test may be done at the same time through the same tube, to measure the pressure changes in the oesophagus.


This involves using an endoscope (a narrow, flexible tube with a camera at its tip), to see down through a person's throat and into their stomach and upper part of the intestine. At the same time, tiny crumb-sized samples from the oesophagus and stomach lining may be taken to be checked under a microscope for further information. Your child will need to have a general anaesthetic for this procedure.

Contrast study using X-rays

This involves having a drink containing a chemical that shows up on X‑rays. After the child swallows the drink, an X‑ray specialist takes a film of the drink passing through the digestive system. This test will not be used to show or assess reflux, but can show the shape and structure of the child's digestive organs.

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