Esophageal Manometry

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Important! This exam requires that you have an empty stomach. You should not consume any food for 8 hrs before the procedure. Stop drinking all fluids (including clear liquids and water) 2 hrs before the exam (minimal sips are allowed only to take your usual medications). 

What is it and why do I need it?

Esophageal manometry is a test that measures the strength and coordination of your esophageal muscles. These muscles work in a coordinated fashion to effectively transport food from your mouth to your stomach. It also evaluates how well the valve (the lower esophageal sphincter) between your esophagus and stomach is working.

It is sometimes ordered when patients report difficulty swallowing and their EGD did not reveal an esophageal blockage or for chest pain that is not related to the heart. It is also used before hiatal hernia surgery to ensure that the esophageal muscles are functioning normally.

The risks

There are usually no serious risks associated with esophageal manometry. You may experience a mild sore throat, but this is usually short term.

The preparation

Your physician may have you stop certain medications, which can interfere with the accuracy of test measurements.  Be sure to confirm this if necessary.

The procedure

You will be asked questions about your health history in the preparation area. No sedation is used for this examination. While in a sitting position or lying on your side, a thin flexible probe will be passed through your nose and then positioned in your esophagus. You will be asked to swallow your saliva or sips of water as the tube is passed. Numerous pressure measurements will be taken. The test usually takes about 30 minutes.

After the procedure

You may go home as soon as the test is completed and resume your usual activities.  Your test results will be analyzed and communicated to you and your primary care physician by phone or letter typically within 2 weeks.