Before your test appointment
Your doctor will provide guidance on taking any existing medication. If you have diabetes or take blood-thinning medication, you may receive additional instructions. You should not eat or drink for 4 hours before your appointment.
Taking the test
When you arrive at your appointment, you will be asked a few questions to make sure you are comfortable before taking the test. There is no need for sedation (medicine to help you relax or put you to sleep), although you may be offered a local anaesthetic spray. Most people find the test painless, causing little discomfort.
Heartburn Health Check uses an EndoSign® capsule sponge test. This allows your doctor to collect cells from your oesophagus.
The capsule is about the size of a vitamin pill, around 2cm in length and contains a sponge connected to a thin, strong thread.
You will be asked to swallow the capsule with 1 or 2 cups of water.
The capsule dissolves when it reaches your stomach, releasing the sponge. This takes 7 minutes.
Your doctor or nurse will gently pull the thread, and the sponge will collect cells as it passes through your oesophagus. This part only takes a few seconds, and it may feel like your oesophagus is being brushed.
Your sample is sent to a laboratory for testing, and your doctor will receive a report about the findings. Your doctor will inform you of the results and discuss next steps with you.
After your test
You can go home immediately after your test. Some patients may experience a mild sore throat. You can take a cough lozenge or painkiller if needed and it usually goes away within 48 hours. If it continues, or if you experience any other symptoms after your test, speak to your doctor.
Frequently asked questions
To learn more about how EndoSign® works, visit the FAQs section.
What conditions do you test for?
Heartburn Health Checks can help your doctor identify pre-cancer and early signs of oesophageal cancer. The results can help your doctor decide what treatment is best for you.