Esophageal manometry is an outpatient test used to identify problems with movement and pressure in the esophagus that may lead to problems like heartburn. The esophagus is the "food pipe" leading from the mouth to the stomach. Manometry measures the strength and muscle coordination of your esophagus when you swallow.
During the manometry test, a thin, pressure-sensitive tube is passed through the nose, along the back of the throat, down the esophagus, and into the stomach.
You're starting to notice that it's not only obvious things -- like too much spicy food or coffee -- that trigger painful heartburn symptoms. Now you're getting heartburn in the middle of the afternoon, just working at your desk, or sitting on the sofa at home. Sometimes you wake up at night with pain in the back of your throat and that awful taste of yesterday's dinner. You groan: not again. Sit up in bed and wonder: Is this more serious than simple heartburn?
The esophageal manometry test may be given to people who have the following conditions:
Heartburn or reflux
Non-cardiac Chest pain
Prior to anti-reflux surgery
How Does Esophageal Manometry Work?
Your esophagus moves food from your throat down to your stomach with a wave-like motion called peristalsis. Manometry will indicate how well the esophagus can perform peristalsis. Manometry also allows the doctor to examine the muscular valve connecting the esophagus with the stomach, called the lower esophageal sphincter, or LES. This valve relaxes to allow food and liquid to enter the stomach. It closes to prevent food and liquid from moving out of the stomach and back up the esophagus.
Abnormalities with peristalsis and LES function may cause symptoms such as swallowing difficulty, heartburn, or chest pain. Information obtained from manometry may help doctors to identify the problem. The information is also very important for surgery to treat reflux.
What Happens Before the Esophageal Manometry Test?
Before you have an esophageal manometry test, be sure to tell the doctor if you are pregnant, have a lung or heart condition, have any other medical problems or diseases, or if you are allergic to any medications.
Can I Continue to Take Medication Before Esophageal Manometry?
There are some medications that may interfere with esophageal manometry.