January 19, 2023
St. Vincent’s Medical Center in Bridgeport is the first hospital in Connecticut – and the only in New England – to use MiVu, an innovative new tool to quickly diagnose reflux.
The mucosal impedance test (MiVu) is performed during an endoscopy to detect early changes related to acid reflux or other inflammatory conditions in the esophagus.
Amir Masoud, MD, co-medical director of the Neurogastroenterology and Motility Center, discusses the benefits of Mivu.
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Early detection is key
Dr. Masoud explains that mucosal impedance measures resistance in the lining of the esophagus.
“The cells that make up the lining are bound together by a cement called the tight junction,” says Dr. Masoud. “One of the earliest consequences of reflux is the loss of these tight junctions which in turn lowers the electrical resistance.”
Measuring these changes early, before symptoms are noticeable, can potentially help develop a management plan to prevent reflux-related complications.
Who is a candidate for MiVu?
The best candidates for MiVu are patients whose symptoms are believed to be from reflux, but have not been formally diagnosed.
“Many patients have atypical reflux symptoms such as sore throat, a lump in their throat or even a chronic cough,” says Dr. Masoud. “In most cases, they are put on a medication to reduce acidity but their symptoms don’t improve.”
Patients typically undergo additional testing to determine the cause of their symptoms. Sometimes this can be quite cumbersome, uncomfortable or, in many cases, inconclusive.
“MiVu is an important tool that finally allows us to comprehensively assess for reflux and enables the very early detection of reflux-related effects in the esophagus,” says Dr. Masoud.
MiVu can also differentiate reflux from another condition known as eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE). EoE is an allergic condition of the esophagus, usually related to certain food allergies that can cause symptoms that overlap with gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).
“The impedance values in reflux and EoE are very different. A spot differentiation can be made within minutes, and in real-time, during the endoscopy,” notes Dr. Masoud.
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When to see a doctor
If you are experiencing symptoms of acid reflux that lasts for several days and does not respond to over-the-counter medications, Dr. Masoud recommends seeing your doctor.
Such symptoms include:
- Chest pain or discomfort
- A feeling of food or liquid coming up
“These complaints can progress to more severe symptoms where the patient suffers crushing chest pain that could even mimic a heart attack,” he explains. “Other complications include scarring and narrowing of the esophagus which can cause difficulty swallowing or even food getting stuck. These are true emergencies and require immediate medical attention.”