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Heartburn – GERD Overview



Heartburn is a burning sensation around the chest areas and is also known as acid indigestion or pyrosis. The pain has a tendency to rise in the chest which might then spread over to the throat, angle of the jaw or the neck.


Backlash of gastric acid which is also the main symptom of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is also said to be the major reason of heartburn. But it is also said that if it is concluded to be a gastroesophageal reflux disease hastily it might be misdiagnosed as ischemic heart disease.

Heartburn might also be used instead of the term indigestion but many suggest that there is a distinction. Indigestion is a combination of epigagtric (commonly known as stomach pain) pain and heartburn. Thus, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is commonly called by heartburn rather the burning of one’s chest.

Diagnosis of Heartburn

When a patient is suffering from chest pain which does not have any basis according to the patient then cardiac disease is the one thing which should be excluded as a basis of prognosis. More than 30% of patients who suffer from patients undergo the complex procedure of cardiac catheterization which afterwards seems to be stemmed out from having chest pain which do not have a determined origin. Various studies state that as many as 25% to 50% of the patients who are tested on the basis f pressure monitoring and ambulatory pH have substantiation of abnormal GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease)

  1. GERD

    Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)is a condition where there is inflammation of the oesophagus due to acid reflux. Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is also the most common type of heartburn.

  2. Functional Heartburn

    It is does not have a specific cause or origin. It is mostly associated with irritable bowel syndrome which is another form of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). It is primarily caused due to deficiency of improvement after treatment when using proton pump inhibitors(PPIs).

  3. Cardiac

    Angina and Myocardial infarction is also said to be caused by heartburn. Acute Coronary Syndrome has non- significant increase when there is a description of indigestion or burning.

Tests for Heartburn – GERD

The chest pain which is caused due to GERD has a distinct burning ‘sensation ‘which normally crops up when at night or just after eating. The condition is worsened when the person bends over or lies down. It is also frequently occurs in pregnant women, who after consumption of large quantities or food containing high fat, high acid, high in spices etc. When heartburn is suspected after chest pain, patients normally go through an upper GI test for confirming the presence of an acid reflux.  Oesophageal spasms are indicated when heartburn occurs after drinking or eating which is then combined with difficulty in swallowing.

  1. Gl cocktail

    When there is relief in pain after administering an antacid then there is increase in suspicion that the pain has an origin in the oesophagus. But this does not eliminate an impending cardiac cause as the causes of uneasiness due to anta acids have been improved.

  2. Biochemical

    To record an intensity of acidity in the lower part of the oesophagus is done by a probe which is placed into the oesophagus via the nose.

  3. Mechanical

    Processes like manometry are used in which a manometer (which is the pressure center) is placed into the oesophagus while passing it through the mouth. It then directly measures the stress of the lower oesophageal sphincter.


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