Gastroesophageal Reflux Testing

Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) is a digestive disorder that can affect people of all ages, and occurs when acidic stomach juices, food or fluid reverse flows from the stomach into the oesophagus.

GERD immediately comes to mind when symptoms such as heartburn and regurgitation are mentioned, but it is not often thought of for symptoms such as chronic cough, sore throat, voice hoarseness or recurrent ear infections.

Lime Radiology offers a bulk billed, non-invasive gastroesophageal reflux test. Unlike other diagnostic tests for reflux that are limited to detecting reflux in the oesophagus, this test also detects reflux contamination throughout the head, neck and lungs.

Contamination of reflux throughout the head and neck can be the cause of ear and sinusitis infections, sore throat and difficulty
swallowing. Reflux can also irritate the airways and be aspirated into the lungs causing chronic cough, recurring chest infections, bronchitis, or pneumonia.

Test Process

You are required to fast for 4 hours prior to your examination.

Please do not have anything to eat, drink, smoke or chew during the fasting period. All medications (including prescribed reflux medication) must be taken on the day of your examination prior to the 4 hour fasting period. Gaviscon must NOT be taken on the day of your appointment.

This test is performed in two stages.

Stage One

The Nuclear Medicine Technologist will give you approximately 150mL of water to drink. The water is labelled with a slightly radioactive tracer. 35 minutes of imaging will commence after consuming the water.


Following part one, there will be a 90 minute break. During this time you must continue to fast, however you may leave the department. The Nuclear Medicine Technologist will advise you of when you need to return to the department.

Stage Two

 Upon your return, a further 25 minutes of imaging will be performed.

Our Nuclear Medicine Physician will review the images and issue a report. Once completed, the report will be sent electronically to your referring health professional.


  • Your original request form
  • Medicare and any Government concession pension or health care cards

Your doctor may refer you for this test if you are suffering from:

  • heartburn
  • cough
  • chest pain
  • throat clearing
  • difficulty swallowing
  • recurrent chest, throat and/or ear infections
  • sinusitis
  • pneumonia
  • bronchitis
  • new or worsening asthma
  • disrupted sleep
  • lung damage

This examination has no associated side effects.

Please allow up to three hours for the test to be completed. The first part of the test will take 45 minutes to one hour. There will then be a two hour break before part two of the test commences. Part two of the test will take 45 minutes. You are free to leave the department for the two hour break between part one and part two.

Your results will be sent to your doctor electronically within five working days.