John C. Lincoln Heartburn Program

John C. Lincoln North Mountain Hospital
250 E. Dunlap Ave.
Phoenix, AZ 85020
Location map and driving directions
602-943-1111 for a referral to a heartburn specialist

For chronic sufferers of heartburn symptoms, acid reflux and GERD, there's relief. And it's spelled "John C."

The John C. Lincoln Heartburn Program offers a one-stop location to undergo diagnostic testing for digestive system disorders — with the latest high-tech equipment — as well as treatment by a team of experienced, expert physicians. To launch the clinic in September 2007, John C. Lincoln Hospitals invested more than $100,000 into equipment, supplies and special staff training.

About Heartburn and Acid Reflux

Nearly one in 10 adults suffer from heartburn. Also called acid indigestion, heartburn is a symptom of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) and occurs when stomach acid flows back, or "refluxes," into the esophagus, the muscular tube that connects the throat to the stomach.

Although the stomach is lined with acid-resistant tissue, the esophagus is not. Through acid reflux, repeated or prolonged exposure to stomach acids can cause inflammation, burns, ulcers and bleeding in the digestive system. Over time, scarring and narrowing of the esophagus can develop, making it difficult to swallow foods and liquids. Even worse, prolonged heartburn can lead to esophageal cancer.

Digestive System Testing

As a part of our treatments for sufferers of heartburn symptoms, acid reflux and GERD, we offer highly specialized testing for advanced symptoms. For example, if you have experienced heartburn symptoms more than two or three times a week, for more than five years, you should undergo an EGD (short for "esophagogastro-duodenoscopy"). This exploratory procedure helps us test for more serious conditions.

In addition, esophageal acid testing, or pH monitoring, is essential to rule out heart problems. When heartburn symptoms are present, normal pH acidity levels can be an indicator of serious cardiac issues.

We strongly encourage testing for persons who have a history of GERD, which they are able to control with medications. They are still at risk of esophageal cancer. A one-time endoscopy can indicate whether one is at risk for GERD-related adenocarcinoma of the esophagus.

Diagnostic Services and Treatments

Specific digestive system diagnostic services and treatments we offer include:

  • Manometry: Recording muscle pressure within the esophagus, to detect abnormal patterns
  • Upper GI series: X-rays of the esophagus, stomach and duodenum
  • Upper endoscopy, gastroscopy and esophagogastroduodenoscopy (EGD)
  • Medtronic's Bravo® Catheter-Free pH Monitoring System
  • Drug therapy, laparoscopy and referrals for additional surgery

If surgery is needed, it generally can be done with a minimally invasive approach, which reduces post-operative pain and shortens the hospital stay. Surgeons at John C. Lincoln's Heartburn Program are all experts in the use of minimally invasive technology.

pH Monitoring for GERD

Traditionally, esophageal acid testing, or "pH monitoring," has been considered the gold standard for diagnosing gastrointestinal reflux disorder (GERD). Two types of pH monitoring of the digestive system are currently available: plastic catheterization and the Bravo pH Monitoring System.

The Heartburn Program at John C. Lincoln North Mountain Hospital will use the Bravo pH Monitoring System to test for GERD. This procedure uses only a catheter to introduce a capsule containing an acid-sensing probe. The catheter is removed as soon as the capsule is clipped to the lower esophagus. Thus, there is no catheter protruding from the nose.

The battery-powered capsule transmits pH data for two days to a small receiver worn by the patient. Then the battery dies. Five to seven days later, the capsule falls off and is passed in the stool. Bravo is designed for greater accuracy. Not only does it double the data captured in conventional catheter-based testing, but since patients are able to maintain regular diet and activities, the pH data collected more accurately reflects patients' physiological conditions.

How to Make an Appointment

If you have experienced heartburn symptoms more than two or three times a week for more than five years, or if you have a history of gastrointestinal reflux disorder (GERD), call 602-943-1111. You will be referred to a heartburn specialist, who will evaluate your condition and determine the appropriate diagnostic tests and treatments.

Information for Physicians and Referral Coordinators

  • Primary care physicians and referral coordinators can call 602-943-1111 for a referral to a heartburn specialist.
  • Specialists will assess and schedule patients for diagnostic and treatment procedures at the center if needed.
  • Physicians on medical staff will receive reports about clinical procedures performed at the center through regular hospital processes. Reports can also be viewed by medical staff physicians through the physician portal.
  • Referring physicians who are not on medical staff will receive reports about procedures performed at the center approximately five to seven days after the procedure.