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GERD Testing: Swallow Study and 24-hr pH Probe

GERD is one of the long-term, late stage-ish issues of cystic fibrosis. Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is so common with CFers because they eat so much, which stretches the stomach and churns up the stomach acid and because years of coughing loosens the sphincter at the bottom of the esophagus, which allows said acid to exit the stomach.

At my last clinic visit, Dr. Haddad explained that he wants to get an accurate reading of this disease because I am presenting mostly inflammation issues in my lungs now, which may suggest that it’s because I’m aspirating stomach acid into my airways. I’ve been taking Prilosec since the end of my major weight gain in 2010 when I was taking 3-4 Zantac 150s to keep up with my heartburn. I take it once per day in the morning now, but in talking with most of my other CF friends my age, if they haven’t had corrective surgery, they take it twice a day.

I mentioned surgery there, didn’t I? They correct GERD permanently with a procedure called Nissen fundoplication. They wrap the top part of the stomach around the bottom of the esophagus to reinforce the closing function of the sphincter. When GERD is a big enough of an issue in CFers who are still pre-transplant, they do a “fundo” and found that it can actually postpone transplant by eliminating the acid in the lungs. The primary purpose surrounding doing a fundo for transplant, though, is to keep the new lungs pristine, so I’m pretty much going to have this one way or another at some time or another since my heartburn is so bad.

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