Bernie Puplava, a registered nurse, who for 24 of her 43 years in the profession has administered the tests at Franciscan St. Anthony Health’s endoscopy unit, believes the area needs to know more about their worth.
“This diagnostic tool is an excellent and valuable service we offer that is pretty unique in Northwest Indiana. We get patients from throughout Indiana, as well as from Illinois and Michigan,” she said, adding, “We should be known as the manometry center for Northwest Indiana.”
Physicians refer patients for the exams, which measure muscular activity, pressure and amplitude of the esophagus and rectum, using probes containing sensors that relay measurements to a monitor. Based on the results, physicians can prescribe treatment options.
“With esophageal motility, patients’ symptoms normally include difficulty swallowing, heartburn, chest pain not cardiac-related, asthma-like problems, belching, acid in the back of the throat, coughing, hoarseness — things that may indicate a hiatal hernia,” Puplava said, adding, “Rectal motility is mostly for patients who have fecal incontinence, or experience constipation or pain.”
Dr. John Mirro Jr., a gastroenterology specialist, applauds the use of manometry in helping him treat patients.
“Esophageal manometry is useful as a prelude to any surgical treatment of refractory reflux and also helpful prior to use of newer procedures …
“The pH (acid-measuring) studies can provide help in patients with atypical symptoms, in order to see if their symptoms are indeed related to gastroesophageal reflux disease.”
Vyra Smith, Franciscan St. Anthony Health nurse manager of surgery, endoscopy and sterile processing-decontamination, agreed the public needs to be made more aware of the service.
“We have well-trained endoscopy nurses, who perform a breadth of services, with the collaboration of our endoscopy physicians. We offer a unique diagnostic tool to evaluate patients for further treatment of heartburn, hiatal hernia, difficulty swallowing and multiple other medical reasons. This service has been used by many physicians in the area for many years at Franciscan St. Anthony Health – Crown Point.”