Doctors have thrown their weight behind a new non-invasive test that helps to diagnose reflux.
It is important that we test and diagnose patients as soon as possible in order to alleviate the symptoms of reflux and give the patient appropriate treatment
Peptest, developed by RD Biomed, measures a patient’s saliva/sputum for levels of pepsin, an enzyme found only in the stomach.
If a patient’s Peptest is positive for pepsin, it suggests they are suffering from reflux and it can also be an indicator of other associated conditions.
Without early diagnosis and treatment reflux can in time lead to severe damage to the oesophagus and to a pre-cancerous condition called Barrett’s Oesophagus, which in some cases can lead to oesophageal cancer. In certain cases it may also be linked to cancer of the larynx.
Current reflux detection methods are time consuming and unpleasant for the patient. For example, tests to confirm laryngopharangeal reflux include dual-channel 24-hour PH monitoring or multi-channel intraluminal impedance measurement. Both require the patient having a catheter inserted down their nose, into the stomach and taped in place for 24-hours.
Peptest saves time and is completely non-invasive. It costs £60 to conduct a three-sample Peptest analysis, whereas it could cost in excess of £750 to conduct an invasive procedure.
The test has received backing from clinicians across the UK. Dr Gabriel Hendow, a GP and an ENT specialist, uses Peptest regularly in his clinic at Bransholme Health Centre in Hull.
“I would definitely recommend Peptest to other GPs as it is an excellent diagnostic tool. It is also a fraction of the price I would incur should I refer my patient to secondary care
He said: “I would definitely recommend Peptest to other GPs as it is an excellent diagnostic tool. It is also a fraction of the price I would incur should I refer my patient to secondary care.
“I can give my patient a Peptest kit for them to do in their own time. It’s extremely simple and pain-free. It is important that we test and diagnose patients as soon as possible in order to alleviate the symptoms of reflux and give the patient appropriate treatment. Peptest is the quickest and most-accurate way to do this.”
It is estimated 10-20% of people in Western countries suffer from reflux related symptoms and prevalence has been reported as high as 34% to 44% from some studies.
Peptest was created by renowned gastrointestinal specialist, Professor Peter Dettmar, director of Hull-based RD Biomed. He said: “I have spent many years studying reflux and the problems patients and doctors have in diagnosing it.
“Reflux and heartburn is such a common problem and current detection methods are invasive and unpleasant for the patient, putting a lot of people off from getting it checked and then treated. I have developed Peptest to solve that problem.”
Peptest is great for my work because it’s simple, non-invasive, relatively cheap and easy for the patients to perform
Mark Watson, a consultant ENT surgeon at Doncaster Infirmary, added: “With some of my patients I need to confirm that the diagnosis of reflux and particularly laryngopharyngeal reflux, a slightly different strain of the disease commonly known as ‘silent reflux’, is correct before we go on for further treatment.
“Peptest is great for my work because it’s simple, non-invasive, relatively cheap and easy for the patients to perform.”
Peptest can be ordered directly by both doctors and patients. The patient provides saliva/sputum samples at the time of their symptoms and returns the samples to RD Biomed for analysis. The patient and their doctor receive the results report within two days.
Peptest can also be used after reflux treatments, such as the new LINX reflux surgery, to assess the success or failure of any treatment.