What is it?

Esophageal manometry is a test that measures the strength and function of the esophagus.

During this test, a thin tube that can sense pressure is placed through the nose and into the esophagus. Test results can help identify causes of heartburn, swallowing problems, or chest pain. The test can also help determine whether a person is a candidate for surgery or determine the success of previous anti-reflux surgery.

Benefits & Risks

Esophageal manometry shows how the muscles in the esophagus work and allows your doctor to diagnose conditions that may be causing your symptoms.

As with any procedure or treatment, there are certain risks. Complications are rare in esophageal manometry but can occur, including irregular heartbeats, aspiration, or perforation in the esophagus.

What to Expect

You will be given specific instructions to prepare for your esophageal manometry.

Before your procedure, you will need to have an empty stomach. Your physician will request that you don’t eat or drink after midnight on the day of your procedure. Additionally, if you take any blood-thinning medication, your physician may request that you stop using for 3-5 days before the test.

The procedure lasts about 30 minutes. During the test, you may feel some discomfort. Numbing cream is applied to the inside of your nostrils. A thin, flexible, lubricated tube will be passed through your nose and advanced into your stomach while you swallow sips of water. You may gag briefly while the tube is passed through the throat. Once the test begins, breathe slowly and smoothly, remain as quiet as possible, and avoid swallowing unless instructed to do so. As the tube is slowly pulled out of your esophagus, the computer measures and records the pressures in different parts of your esophagus.

Afterward, you may have a sore throat, stuffy nose, or a minor nose bleed in the hours following the procedure.