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Obama goes to Walter Reed for tests to diagnose sore throat

BETHESDA, Md. -- Acid reflux is responsible for the sore throat President Obama has complained about for the past couple of weeks, the White House said Saturday, shortly after the president returned from undergoing diagnostic tests at a nearby military hospital.

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Mr. Obama's motorcade made the approximately half-hour crawl in rainy weather to the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, where a CT scan was performed and was normal. Mr. Obama, 53, was at the facility for about a half hour before returning to the White House.

The CT scan followed a morning fiber optic exam performed on Mr. Obama at the White House by an ear, nose and throat specialist from Fort Belvoir Medical Center in Northern Virginia and supervised by Dr. Ronny L. Jackson, Mr. Obama's physician and director of the White House Medical Unit.

Jackson said in a statement that the fiber optic exam revealed "soft tissue swelling" in the back of Mr. Obama's throat. Jackson said he and the specialist, who was not identified, determined that "further evaluation with a routine CT scan was prudent."

The CT scan was normal, Jackson said.

"The president's symptoms are consistent with soft tissue inflammation related to acid reflux and will be treated accordingly," he said, without elaborating on exactly how Mr. Obama's condition would be treated.

Acid reflux is caused when the contents of the stomach flow back up the esophagus, causing heartburn and other symptoms. Treatments include avoiding certain foods and using over-the-counter or prescription medications, including antacids.

White House press secretary Josh Earnest said Jackson suggested that Mr. Obama have the diagnostic test done on Saturday afternoon because the president had free time in his schedule. Rain kept Mr. Obama off the golf course, where he spends most Saturdays when the weather permits.

"The quickly scheduled test is a matter of convenience for the president, not a matter of urgency," Earnest said.

Mr. Obama had a physical exam in May and was said to be in excellent health.

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