An esophageal manometry is a test that measures the activity of the lower esophageal sphincter as well as pressure and contractions in the esophagus. The lower esophageal sphincter is located near the lower portion of the esophagus and helps prevent stomach acid from coming back up. This test is usually performed for people complaining of symptoms such as heartburn, chest pain, and/or difficulty swallowing. It is also used in people who may develop aspiration pneumonias due to the acid backing up into the lungs.
The patient may be asked to avoid food or liquid the day of the test. In addition, certain medications may be stopped in advance in order to ensure accurate results.
During the test:
The esophageal manometry is performed by placing a small tube through either the patient’s nose or mouth. The tube is guided down through the esophagus to the lower esophageal sphincter where it measures the pressure and contractions after dry swallows and swallows with sips of water. It can detect problems such as esophageal spasms, lack of muscle coordination, and other conditions which may be present in gastroparesis.
After the test:
The patient may experience some throat pain or nose pain from the tube placement. Bleeding is rare, but should always be reported. Normal activities may be resumed.
Abnormal results indicate a problem with the muscular function of the esophagus. It can explain heart attack like symptoms and difficulty swallowing.