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Esophageal manometry is a test that determines how well a person’s esophagus is functioning. An esophagus is a muscular, lengthy tube that links the throat to the stomach.

Esophagus contracts when one swallows, forcing food into the stomach. The contractions are measured by esophageal manometry. The esophageal muscles’ strength and coordination as they transport food to your stomach are also measured by the test.

During the procedure, a catheter (a thin, flexible tube) that contains pressure sensors is passed through the patient’s nose, down the esophagus, and into the stomach. The test can be useful in identifying some esophageal diseases.

Ideal Candidate for Esophageal Manometry Test

The manometry test is commonly used for people who have:

  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Heartburn and/or regurgitation (bringing food back up after swallowing it)
  • Chest pain
  • Pain when swallowing

Possible Risks of Esophageal Manometry Test

Esophageal manometry is often painless and rarely causes difficulties. However, one might experience some discomfort while having the test, such as:

  • Watery eyes
  • Discomfort in the nose and throat
  • Gagging when the tube passes into the throat

An individual could experience minor adverse effects following esophageal manometry, but these usually go away within a few hours. Included among the side effects are:

  • Sore throat
  • Minor nose bleeding
  • Stuffy nose

Preparation for the Esophageal Manometry Test

One might need to avoid eating and drinking for a given time before the test. The doctor will issue specific instructions. The patient needs to inform the doctor about the medication he/she is currently taking. The patient might be asked not to take some medications before the procedure.

What to Expect

High-resolution manometry can be used to measure the esophagus. In comparison to traditional manometry, high-resolution manometry employs more pressure sensors and is more accurate at determining pressure changes.

Without sedation, this test is performed as an outpatient procedure. Most people tolerate it well. Before the test begins, the patient might be requested to change into a hospital gown.

During the Procedure

The esophageal manometry test usually lasts about 30 minutes

  • While sitting up, the doctor sprays the patient’s throat with a numbing medication or rather puts a numbing gel in the nose or uses both.
  • The patient’s nose is used to direct a catheter into the esophagus. A sleeve filled with water may be used to conceal the catheter. It doesn’t affect how one breathes. Due to inflammation, the patient can experience a minor nosebleed.
  • The patient will be requested to either stay seated or lie on his/her back on an exam table once the catheter has been inserted.
  • He/she will then swallow small sips of water. As this happens, a computer is connected to the catheter and records the pressure, speed, and pattern of the esophageal muscle contraction.
  • As the test progresses, the patient will be asked to breathe slowly and smoothly, remain as still as possible, and swallow only if asked to do so.
  • The catheter is then gradually removed.

Expected Results After Esophageal Manometry

In one to two days, the doctor will get the results of the patient’s esophageal manometry. The test results can aid in determining the cause of esophageal symptoms or be used as part of a preoperative evaluation.

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