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Heartburn/GERD Health Center

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Esophageal Manometry

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Can I Eat or Drink Before Esophageal Manometry?

Do not eat or drink anything eight hours before an esophageal manometry.

What Happens During an Esophageal Manometry?

You are not sedated during an esophageal manometry, although a topical anesthetic (pain-relieving medication) may be applied to your nose to make the passage of the tube more comfortable.

A small, flexible tube is passed through your nose, down your esophagus, and into your stomach. The tube does not interfere with your breathing. You are seated while the tube is inserted. The tube is connected to a machine that records the contractions of the esophageal muscles on a graph.

You may feel some discomfort as the tube is being placed, but it takes only about a minute to place the tube. Most patients quickly adjust to the tube's presence. Vomiting and coughing are possible when the tube is being placed, but are rare.

After the tube is inserted, you are asked to lie on your left side.

A small sensor records each time you swallow. During the test, you will be asked to swallow water at certain times.

The tube is then slowly withdrawn. The gastroenterologist (a doctor who specializes in conditions of the gastrointestinal tract) will interpret the esophageal contractions that were recorded during the test.

The test lasts from 30 to 40 minutes.

What Happens After an Esophageal Manometry?

  • You may resume your normal diet and activities after an esophageal manometry.
  • You may feel a temporary soreness in your throat. Lozenges or gargling with salt water may help.

A Warning About Esophageal Manometry

If you have any unusual symptoms or side effects after an esophageal manometry, call your doctor or go to the emergency room immediately.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Jennifer Robinson, MD on August 27, 2014
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