Heidelberg Testing assesses stomach acid levels at rest, as well as the functional capacity of parietal cells (i.e., the cells in your stomach that produce acid) when they are “challenged” to produce more stomach acid by meals. The testing involves swallowing a small capsule the size of a multivitamin that remains tethered in your stomach by a medical grade silk thread. This capsule communicates the pH of your stomach via radiotelemetry to a nearby computer. Testing can last anywhere from 30 minutes to 3 hours depending on the physiology of your stomach and the types of testing ordered by your physician. Following testing, the capsule is removed from your stomach and back up through your esophagus. Most patients report that this process feels odd, but is not typically painful.
You MUST have an order from a physician to complete this testing.
Please inform the doctor overseeing the testing if you experience any of the following:
- Inflammatory Bowel Disease, such as Crohn’s disease or Ulcerative Colitis
- Narrowing (strictures) or blind loops in your digestive tract
- Difficulty swallowing
- A strong gag reflex
Contraindications to testing:
- You cannot be pregnant or have a pacemaker this testing. Please inform your physician and the Heidelberg testing technicians if either of these situations applies to you.
Prior to testing:
- 7 days prior to testing: Discontinue all proton pump inhibitors (e.g.,Prilosec, Protonix, etc.), antibiotics, and antihistamine medications (e.g., zantac or pepcid AC). Antacids such as Tums can be used.
- Important: Do not discontinue any medications without first speaking with your prescribing physician to determine whether this is safe to do so, and how best to wean off of these medications.
- 10 hours prior to testing: Do not eat anything or drink anything other than water.
- 1 hour before testing: Do not drink anything, including water.
- You will not be allowed to make phone calls or use WiFi enabled devices during the testing, as the cellular and WiFi signals can cause interference.
- Cell phones and tablets need to be put in Airplane Mode or turned off during testing.
- Please bring something relaxing to do – a book, magazine, etc. – while completing the testing.