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 (NG) 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 preparation you can provide for this test depends on your child’s age, previous experiences, and level of trust. For general information regarding how you can prepare your child, see the following topics:
- Infant test or procedure preparation (birth to 1 year)
- Toddler test or procedure preparation (1 to 3 years)
- Preschooler test or procedure preparation (3 to 6 years)
- School age test or procedure preparation (6 to 12 years)
- Adolescent test or procedure preparation (12 to 18 years)
How the test will feel
You may experience some discomfort as the NG 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).
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 or vomiting.
by Janet G. Derge, M.D.
All ArmMed Media material is provided for information only and is neither advice nor a substitute for proper medical care. Consult a qualified healthcare professional who understands your particular history for individual concerns.