BRAVO Wireless pH Monitoring Device Can Evaluate GERD in Children with ASD

August 08, 2022

Wireless System Avoids Using the More Invasive Transnasal Catheter to Monitor GERD

Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is a common comorbid condition experienced by individuals with autism. For those on the spectrum who are also non-verbal, self-injurious behaviors often manifest due to pain or discomfort from GERD. However, diagnosing GERD in non-verbal children is challenging due to their impaired communication skills. As a result, a group of researchers evaluated the effectiveness of using a BRAVO wireless pH monitoring device to diagnose GERD in children with autism. The BRAVO monitoring device is a pH-sensing wireless capsule that is placed into esophageal tissue to measure pH levels. The current study’s design compared two groups of children (one group with autism and the other group without) who used the device to diagnose GERD. A total of 172 patients were included, 27 of those had autism (median age 11 years, 17 male). The researchers found no difference in the ability to complete at least 24 hours of study duration between both groups. They also found no difference in the median reflux index on the worst day or the average of both days, BRAVO pH parameters, and the proportion of abnormal studies between ASD and non-ASD children. When the authors evaluated the overall symptom correlation with GER episodes, they did not find a difference between both groups. However, the team discovered a higher symptom correlation for GER symptoms during supine position in children with autism. No significant side effects were reported during the study. In the end, the authors concluded that the BRAVO wireless pH is well tolerated and appropriate for evaluating GER and behavioral symptoms for children on the spectrum. It is also a reasonable and preferred alternative to the standard trans-nasal pH monitoring for GERD which involves using a more invasive transnasal catheter for 24 hours. 

Original Study Abstract

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