Gastro-oesophageal reflux has been assessed in 10 symptomatic patients and 10 asymptomatic normal subjects during a study period of 24 hours at work and in the home using a newly developed pH sensitive radiotelemetry capsule and a portable receiving system. Oesophageal pH was continuously monitored by the tethered radiotelemetry capsule and recorded with a portable receiver and a 24-hour cassette recorder, allowing the patient complete freedom of movement so that ambulatory studies could be undertaken during a normal working day. The number and duration of reflux episodes was greater in symptomatic patients than normal subjects during 24-hour studies at home (p<0.002). In both groups, reflux occurred more during the day than at night (p<0.01). Patients refluxed significantly more at home than when they were in hospital (p<0.01). Ambulatory outpatient oesophageal pH monitoring may be useful in the management of patients with atypical symptoms and may demonstrate significant reflux when inpatient investigations and endoscopy findings show minimal abnormality.
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