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Esophageal Manometry (Motility Study)

Esophageal manometry is a test that measures the function of the esophagus and the characteristics of the valve between your esophagus and the stomach. The test provides information that assists the doctor in the diagnosis of patients with swallowing difficulties and gastroesophageal reflux disease. Esophageal  manometry is also used for evaluation prior to surgery. A small, very flexible catheter will be gently inserted through the nose into the esophagus. This catheter is attached to a machine that records and analyzes pressure measurements from sensors on the catheter. This information helps your doctor to diagnose your illness and plan the best treatment for you.

How should I prepare for the procedure?

  • You may have regular meals on the day before the test.
  • Do not eat or drink anything after midnight. This also includes chewing gum, mints and hard candies.
  • You may take certain necessary medications with a small sip of water up to two hours before the test. Please check with your doctor regarding any medications you take.
  • Notify the nurse or doctor if you are diabetic! Follow your doctor’s instructions regarding insulin dosage and when to take your pills for diabetes.
  • You will be asked to sign an informed consent and provide information regarding allergies, medicines you are now taking, existing medical conditions and previous surgeries.
  • You will need to discontinue Bentyl, Carafate and Reglan 72 hours prior to testing. What can I expect during the esophageal manometry test?
  • Your nostrils will be numbed with an anesthetic gel to allow for easier placement of the catheter. A cotton-tipped applicator (Q-tip) will be inserted and removed, followed by introduction of the catheter.
  • You will remain awake for the procedure.

What happens during the procedure?

  • The test lasts 15 to 30 minutes.
  • A thin tube is passed through your mouth and nose and into your stomach.
  • Your doctor will ask you to swallow frequently in order to measure pressure at several points.

What happens after the procedure?

  • You may resume your normal daily activities.
  • Please schedule a follow-up visit with your doctor to discuss the results of your test.
  • Complications of this procedure are exceedingly rare, with the most significant being esophageal perforation. Sometimes your nose might bleed and you may have a sore throat or mild heartburn for one to two days after the test.