Summary of the Panel on “Useful Tests in the Assessment of Gastroesophageal Reflux”
The sensitivity and specifity of scintigraphy are quite the same as those of 24-h esophageal pH-monitoring for the diagnosis of gastroesophageal reflux if we compare these two methods in a group of typical reflux patients (symptoms of heartburn, endoscopic esophagitis). However, scintigraphy neglects the nocturnal period, which is important for atypical symptoms such as asthma, chest pain, or cough. It is not possible to assess the severity of gastroesophageal reflux disease by scintigraphy. On the other hand scintigraphy can detect alkaline reflux, which is often overlooked by single pH-monitoring, and allows the study of the amplitude of reflux in oral direction. It has the advantage of assessing reflux and transit time in one examination. Finally, scintigraphy can be used in detecting diverticula, which are sometimes associated with gastroesophageal reflux (J. Pasquier).