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Esophagus Tests

How It Feels

The local anesthetic sprayed into your nose and throat usually tastes slightly bitter and will make your tongue and throat feel numb and swollen.

When the tube goes through your nose or mouth into your esophagus, you may feel like coughing or gagging. The test may be easier if you try to take slow, deep breaths. You may not like the taste of the lubricant on the tube.

If you have a test that involves adding acid to your stomach, you may have heartburn pain and other symptoms of acid reflux.

If you have the wireless pH monitoring, you may be able to feel the capsule in your esophagus. You will not feel the capsule when it detaches and passes through your intestines and out of your body in your stool.

After the test is over, your nose and throat may feel sore. But this should improve within a day or so.

Risks

The chances that you will have problems from an esophagus test are rare.

  • You may get a nosebleed.
  • You may have irregular heartbeats (arrhythmias).
  • The tube may go down the windpipe (trachea) instead of the esophagus as it is being inserted.
  • You may vomit material from your stomach and then breathe it into your lungs (aspiration).
  • The tube may make a hole in the esophagus (perforation).

Results

Esophagus tests measure muscle pressure and movement, coordination, and strength of the tube that connects the throat to the stomach (esophagus camera.gif). They test how well the ring of muscles (sphincters) at the top and bottom of the esophagus work. Esophagus tests also measure the movement and volume of gas, liquid, and solid through the esophagus and its pH (acid or nonacid). Results are usually available within a few days.

pH monitoring
Normal:
  • The pH of the esophagus is not acidic.
  • If acid is placed in the stomach, the pH of the esophagus does not go down.
Abnormal:
  • The pH of the lower esophagus is frequently acidic.
  • If acid is placed in the stomach, the pH of the lower esophagus goes down.

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: April 16, 2013
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

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