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Bernstein test

Alternative names

Acid perfusion test


The Bernstein test attempts to reproduce symptoms of heartburn . It is usually done along with other tests dealing with esophageal functions .

How the test is performed

The test is done in a laboratory. A nasogastric tube will be inserted through your nostril and down into your esophagus. An infusion of mild hydrochloric acid is introduced through the tube, alternating with a saline solution, and you will be asked to report any discomfort you experience during the test.

How to prepare for the test

You should not consume any food or fluid for 8 hours before the procedure.

Infants and children:

The physical and psychological preparation you can provide for this or any test or procedure depends on your child's age, interests, previous experience, and level of trust. For specific information regarding how you can prepare your child, see the following topics as they correspond to your child's age:

  • Infant test/procedure preparation (birth to 1 year)
  • Toddler test/procedure preparation (1 to 3 years)
  • Preschooler test/procedure preparation (3 to 6 years)
  • Schoolage test/procedure preparation (6 to 12 years)
  • Adolescent test/procedure preparation (12 to 18 years)

How the test will feel

You may experience some discomfort as the nasogastric tube is placed. You may feel symptoms of heartburn while the hydrochloric acid solution is being administered.

You may have a mild sore throat 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).

Normal Values

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 and/or vomiting

Update Date: 11/18/2002

A.D.A.M. editorial. Previous review: Andrew J. Muir, M.D., M.H.S., Division of Gastroenterology, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. (11/9/2002)

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Last updated: Tue, 06 Jan 2009 00:20:03 GMT