What Is an Esophageal Manometry?
An esophageal manometry is a test performed to measure the pressure and contractions inside the lower part of the esophagus. This helps your physician to assess whether your esophagus is functioning correctly. You won’t require sedation, but an anesthetic may be applied to your nose or throat to make the process more comfortable.
A fine, pressure-sensitive tube is inserted into your nose or mouth and passed down through your esophagus – the long, narrow, muscular tube connecting your throat to your stomach. The tube is passed into the stomach through the lower esophageal sphincter or ‘LES’ (the area of muscle that opens to allow food into your stomach, and closes to prevent food or acid from escaping the stomach into the esophagus).
The tube is pulled slowly back into the esophagus while you swallow. This allows it to measure the strength and coordination of your esophageal muscle contractions at several points along its length. These measurements are then relayed to a computer, creating a pattern. Your physician can interpret the pattern to assess whether your LES and esophagus as a whole are working properly.
You will usually be asked not to eat or drink for several hours before the procedure and may be advised to stop taking some medications beforehand.
Who Needs an Esophageal Manometry?
An esophageal manometry may be recommended if you are suffering from symptoms such as heartburn, acid reflux, problems with swallowing, a feeling that something is stuck in the throat, night-time coughing or choking, or pain/burning in the chest after eating. These can be symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) and/or LPR (laryngopharyngeal or ‘silent’ reflux).