Bernstein Test

A variety of other tests are available to the gastroenterologist who is seeking to diagnose a patient, although the most commonly used tests have already been discussed in this blog. One additional option that some doctors may still use is the Bernstein test, a procedure that is used specifically to diagnose the sensitivity of your esophagus to acid.

In this two-part test, a solution of weak hydrochloric acid is infused into the esophagus via a tube. Then a saline solution is infused. If the patient develops symptoms upon acid infusion but not on saline infusion, then the esophagus is sensitive to acid. if a patient has symptoms with both or neither, then something else is going on.

The disadvantage of this test is that it tells the doctor only if the esophagus is abnormally sensitive to acid, not whether there is an abnormally increased acid reflux into the esophagus.

The Bernstein test may be done in parts of the country where the doctor doesn't have access to pH monitoring tests. It is not considered as useful as other tests. However, it may be useful if the primary symptom is unexplained chest pain and all other tests are negative.