PMID: 7938795Jul 1, 1994Paper

Twenty-four-hour tracheal pH monitoring--a simple and non-hazardous investigation

Respiratory Medicine
C I JackC C Evans


Prolonged oesophageal pH monitoring is commonly used in the investigation of gastro-oesophageal reflux. In contrast, tracheal pH monitoring is virtually unknown. We report a simple technique of measuring tracheal pH where the pH probe is inserted under local anaesthetic and can be left in position for 24 h to allow prolonged monitoring. Ten control individuals were studied. All completed the study without complication. One patient with mixed connective tissue disease, failed hiatal hernia repair and subsequent recurrent aspiration pneumonia was studied, on and off ranitidine, using simultaneous tracheal and oesophageal pH monitoring. This method showed evidence of gastro-oesophageal reflux and tracheal aspiration off treatment. When repeated with the patient taking ranitidine, the frequency of significant gastro-oesophageal reflux was reduced and no episodes of tracheal acid aspiration were recorded. Prolonged tracheal pH monitoring is a simple and non-hazardous technique. It is sensitive in detecting tracheal aspiration and may be more sensitive than pre-existing radiolabelled isotope techniques.


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