Diagnosis of a hiatal hernia begins with a thorough review of your medical history and a physical exam. Mayo Clinic offers the latest diagnostic testing options. Test results are typically available on the same day or within 24 hours. Efficient testing helps the team quickly arrive at a diagnosis, so your treatment can begin as soon as possible. Mayo's experience helps doctors recognize hiatal hernias or other possible causes of your symptoms.
Among the tests used to diagnose a hiatal hernia are:
- Esophagram (barium swallow). An X-ray visualizes movement of liquids through the esophagus when you swallow.
- Endoscopy. A flexible, narrow tube (endoscope) with a camera is passed into the esophagus to view the inside of the throat (pharynx) and esophagus.
- pH probe. A thin tube is passed into the esophagus to determine if stomach acids are entering your esophagus (acid reflux).
- Esophageal motility testing. Monitors are passed down a thin tube inserted into the esophagus to determine the strength and coordination of your swallow.
- Capsule pH test. A small capsule is temporarily attached to the lower end of your esophagus during an endoscopy. The capsule records the amount of time stomach acid refluxes back into your esophagus and whether your heartburn occurs during an actual instance of acid reflux. Information from the capsule is transmitted to a pager-like receiver.