Waiting on tests/scans

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Regular Member

Date Joined Feb 2012
Total Posts : 26
   Posted 3/13/2012 9:13 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi Guys,
I finally got in to see a specialist today about my chronic cough. I have had silent GERD symptoms since I was a child and diagnosed with many different things during the course of my life (asthma, allergies, "nervous cough" really?????) Since many of my diagnoses have been several years ago, my doc is sending me for additional tests/scans to rule out other issues and to see how bad things really look in my esophagus.

For the last three years, my night time clearing of the throat has turned into a horrible coughing fit, sometimes lasting three or four hours, leaving me with no rest most nights. I have been on Omeprazole BiCarb 40mg for about 18 months with only slight improvement. My vocal chords and larynx are extremely swollen and appear to have cysts or nodules under the folds. I am frequently hoarse and completely lose my voice at the end of most days. To complicate matters, I am a kindergarten teacher and it is very difficult to function at work.

I will be having the following tests done and wonder if any of you have experienced these and what to expect, as well as what info will the doctor gain from these?
---Barium swollen
---CT of lungs (Can you tell if acid is backing up into lungs from a CT?)
---lung function test
---Upper GI
and perhaps a few others. The doc said he would line them all up and then contact me, but we are being aggressive in an effort to see what is truly causing my chronic cough. I hope to be able to have the Nissen Fundoplication since I feel that this procedure would give me great relief.

Please let me know if any of you went thru this testing prior to being able to have surgery.....I think they have to be done to justify for insurance purposes...


Elite Member

Date Joined Apr 2007
Total Posts : 32602
   Posted 3/14/2012 1:43 PM (GMT -6)   
Hello and welcome to HealingWell.  I know that the vast majority of our members who have had surgery went through extensive testing prior to surgery, not necessarily the same ones you have listed here.  Have you had the pH monitor examination and the Manometry testing?
I am sure you will hearing from some of our other members re testing.
Moderator: Anxiety, Osteoarthritis,
GERD/Heartburn and Heart/Cardiovascular Disease.


"Life is not about waiting for the storms to pass...
It's about learning how to dance in the rain."~ Vivian Greene

Veteran Member

Date Joined Apr 2011
Total Posts : 1604
   Posted 3/14/2012 3:59 PM (GMT -6)   

I had a CT scan of my lungs for my asthma (luckily my reflux doesn't affect my asthma). I think it shows things like narrowing and scarring, and obviously swellings or structural abnormalities would show up. It's a very simple test - I'd have 10 of them over an endoscopy any day! Basically you just lie still and that's that.

Asthma and GERD can gang up together - reflux can worsen asthma as you know, but asthma medications (the long acting ventolin type inhaler, not the instant reliever one) can relax the LES, thus allowing more reflux. It may be worth discussing your asthma meds with your chest physician to make sure you have done everything you can meds wise.

Lung function test is lots of puffing and blowing into a machine - like doing peak flow test but bit harder work. It's not unpleasant. I remember going into a kind of 'sound booth' for part of it, but honestly following the instructions was the hardest part!!

Upper GI experience varies - but for most people it's no biggy. You can have sedation and that's very satisfactory for about 99% of people. I was unlucky enough to be in the other 1% so we won't talk about that! It's straight forward though - you have to fast and they may ask you to stop your ppi beforehand. If you have it without sedation you can look at your stomach on the monitor and talk to them about what they can see.

I would suggest making sure they test for Helicobacter and coeliac disease whilst they're in there - you don't want them to think of reasons to go back later!

I haven't had a barium swallow but I think it's fasting again and then swallowing a special drink (which will be visible on xray). They will take lots of different images as you drink and afterwards - you may have some taken standing and others lying down. This may show a hernia or any other structural abnormality.

The endoscopy can also detect hernia, and will look for inflammation and tissue damage. You should get the results of the scope immediately (apart from any biopsies) but you will have to wait for a follow up appointment to get the results of your other tests (usually).

Good luck - don't forget to tell us how it all went!

New stuff: GERD, Recurrent cystitis/Overactive bladder
Lifelong stuff: Food allergies/intolerance, eczema, asthma

Regular Member

Date Joined Mar 2012
Total Posts : 54
   Posted 3/16/2012 6:27 PM (GMT -6)   
I have had all the following tests: barium swallow, esophageal mamometry (spelling?), 24 hour Ph and endoscopy. Since you asked about the barium, I'll tell you my experience with that. I had to fast the night before. When I got to the outpatient clinic, I was given a hospital gown and had to take off my top and bra but kept my pants and sneakers on. They then had me stand upright and put an xray view box in front of my chest. This was open and I was not enclosed like an MRI would be. Just a box in front of you that comes close to your chest. They gave me a bubbly liquid to swallow like alkaselzter would taste. I then had to stand very still while they took several pictures. I was given another chalky liquid to swallow. I would take a small sip and hold it in my mouth. They would say swallow and I did. I did this 3 or 4 times until the liquid was gone. It was kinda chalky but not unpleasant tasting. Next, they started lowering the table back until I was laying on my back. During this they had me roll over very slowly onto my left side, stop, then stomach, stop and right side stop then finally laying on my back. They had had me roll again to my right side and drink water out of straw. All liquids were only 4 - 5 ounces of each. The table moves back into position so you are standing again and the test is finished. Took less than 15 minutes. After they told me to make sure you drink lots of water to help the barium leave your system. They said gas pain, bloating could be a side effect but I didn't have any. Hope that helps. Good luck.

Post Edited (Lilred08) : 3/17/2012 5:32:02 AM (GMT-6)

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