Bernstein Test

Submitted on March 27, 2012

Esophagus tests or Bernstein tests are done to check the muscle movement and pressure, the strength of the esophagus, and the coordination. The Bernstein test includes several tests such as –

  • Esophageal acidity test or the pH monitoring test – this is done to measure the pH content in the esophagus. A low level means there is reflux of the acid.
  • Esophageal manometry – measures pattern and strength of esophageal muscle contractions.

Reasons for Bernstein test

There are several reasons why this test is conducted.

  • It helps to find out if the chest pains are happening because of GERD
  • Can zero down on the reasons behind the GERD symptoms
  • Check how effective the GERD treatment is
  • Check esophageal spasms and chest pain
  • Observe if the esophagus is working normally


  • You are advised against the consumption of antacids as well as acid reducers for a day before the test.
  • Your doctor will also tell you what other medications to avoid before the test.
  • Refrain from alcohol for a day before the test.
  • You also need to stop eating or drinking for about 17 hours before the test.
  • You need to tell your doctor about other problems like heart conditions, heart failure, and enlarged esophageal blood vessels.


Once you lie down, your nose and throat will be sprayed with a medication to make the area numb. A narrow tube will be inserted through your nose and pass through the throat to the stomach. This might give you a gagging sensation. We suggest you breathe slowly to overcome this feeling and focus on your breath work. Your blood pressure and pulse will be monitored while this is being done.

PH monitoring

The probe, passed through the nose/mouth to the lower esophagus, is used to monitor the pH.

For further details about the nuances of the test, consult your doctor.

How will you feel after this test

  • When the tube is being inserted, you will feel like gagging, and may find the lubricant distasteful.
  • If extra acid is added to your stomach, then you can experience heartburn.
  • Your throat may be sore, but will heal within a few days.

Risks involved

Some of the risks are as following.

  • You may experience irregular heartbeats.
  • The tube could accidentally enter the windpipe instead of the esophagus.
  • The esophagus might get perforated by the tube.


You can generally get your reports or the results from your doctor after a few hours.