Gastrointestinal (GI) function investigations have become an important tool in the diagnosis of digestive diseases. GI Physiology testing plays a role in assisting surgeons and physicians in the diagnosis and management of patients with GI disorders.
Oesophageal disorders are extremely common with most patients presenting with symptoms of gastro-oesophageal reflux such as heartburn, epigastric and retrosternal discomfort, bloating and nausea. Many patients also present with dysphagia (difficulty swallowing), which may be indicative of a mechanical disorder of the lower oesophageal sphincter or a disorder of oesophageal peristalsis. In some cases dysphagia may be indicative of something more sinister such as oesophageal carcinoma.
Patients with angina-like chest pain, respiratory symptoms such a wheezing and cough, laryngeal and voice disorders and patients with unexplained dental erosion are also commonly referred for GI physiology investigations to help ascertain whether the primary cause of their symptoms is gastro – oesophageal reflux disease. The GI physiology unit also carries out lower GI investigations to help colorectal surgeons and physicians in the diagnosis of Ano rectal disorders.
Today there are five GI Physiology Units. These are located in St James’s Hospital, Dublin, The Mater Private, Dublin, Tallaght (AMNCH) Hospital, Dublin, Galway University Hospital, Mercy University, Cork and Bon Secours, Cork.
In a Gastrointestinal Physiology Department, the GI Physiologist performs the following tests:
- High Resolution Oesophageal Manometry
- High resolution Impedance Oesophageal Manometry-/+ Pressure flow pharyngeal analysis
- High resolution Impedance Rumination Manometry
- 24h pH studies
- 24h impedance pH study
- 24h LPR impedance pH study
- Bravo 24h pH capsule Testing
- Electrogastrography of the Stomach
- H pylori Testing/ 13C Urea Breath Testing
- Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth Breath Test +/- Methane production
- Carbohydrate Malabsorption / Intolerance Breath Testing ( Fructose. Lactose/ Sucrose)
- Small Bowel Capsule Endoscopy
- Patency Capsule Endoscopy
- PillCam Colonoscopy
- High Resolution Anorectal Manometry +/- Rectal sensory Testing
- High Resolution Anorectal Manometry with Biofeedback therapy