What Is an Esophageal Manometry?
Problems swallowing, chest pain, stubborn heartburn, and other symptoms sometimes result from diseases of the esophagus. Diagnosis and treatment of these diseases require understanding the muscle and nerve functions of the esophagus; analyzing the movement, or motility, of food and liquids through the esophagus; and learning if there are abnormal levels of stomach acid within the esophagus.
Manometry measures pressures; pH testing measures acidity; impedance examines how fluid passes up and down the esophagus.
How Do I Prepare for My Procedure?
Prior to an esophageal manometry, a short period with an empty stomach is necessary. Your clinician will get you specific instructions. Sometimes, certain medications are stopped for a period of time before testing. If you take any kind of acid blocker medicine, your doctor will advise whether it should be stopped ahead of time or taken as usual. There are no special diets required prior to the procedure. If you are being referred to us just for an esophageal manometry, we will need to see your medical records before performing the tests.
How Is the Procedure Performed?
Procedures are usually done at a hospital’s outpatient GI lab. A small, flexible catheter will be guided through your nose and throat and into the esophagus, as you take small swallows to assist the passage. Any discomfort during this procedure is brief and minor. The catheter is attached to a computer that records pressure and other data from within the esophagus.
The manometry part of the procedure involves swallowing small sips of water while lying on your back. A manometry takes about 20 minutes to perform. You will be able to drive yourself home afterward.
If a 24-hour pH (acid) and/or impedance (fluid passage) test is to be done, the catheter is attached to a recording device similar to a pager that can be worn on your belt or kept discreetly on an article of clothing. For these tests, you return home with the nasal catheter in place and resume your regular meals and activities while recording notes in a diary about meal times and any symptoms you might have, such as chest pain or heartburn. You return to the lab the next day to have the catheter removed. A physician ordinarily supervises the manometry and will assess the data collected, record findings, and share the resulting report with you and your referring physician.
What Can I Expect After My Procedure?
When Will I Know the Outcome of the Esophageal Manometry?
What Are the Risks Involved With the Procedure?
What Are My Alternatives to This Procedure?
There are no good alternatives to esophageal manometry or the other tests explained above. Esophageal manometry is usually performed after anatomic abnormalities have been ruled out by endoscopy. The function of the muscles of the esophagus and the working of the esophageal sphincter may be assessed initially by performing a barium swallow. However, a normal barium swallow will not rule out any abnormal function of the muscles of the esophagus or the esophageal sphincter. Hence, there are truly no good alternatives to the esophageal manometry, pH, or impedance tests.
Find out more about esophageal manometry and schedule a visit with one of our GI specialists by calling the location nearest you.