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Esophageal Manometry


1. Do not eat or drink for at least 6 hours before the exam. After the exam you may eat and drink normally.
2. Do not take your morning medications; however, bring them with you, as you will be able to take them after the exam. This is because certain medications may interfere with the test.
3. Bring a list of all your medications.
4. You will not be sedated for this procedure.
5. The motility exam will usually take 30 minutes, please arrive at the lab 30 minutes prior to your appointment.
6. You will not need an escort.
7. Remember to bring your BC Care Card and government identification with you.



Your doctor has scheduled an examination of the muscular function of your esophagus (esophageal motility) using a pressure sensing tube. Plead read this form so that you understand the procedure and the risks and benefits associated with it. Be sure to ask questions about anything on this form you do not understand.


The esophageal manometry test measures the motor action and of muscles that are at the upper and lower ends of the esophagus, as well as the motor function of the esophageal body. It is performed using a catheter that senses pressure changes in the esophagus. A thin tube is passed through the nose into the stomach. The outer end of the tube attached to an instrument that will record the pressure. The tube is pulled slowly back into the esophagus and pressure measurements are taken at various intervals. The high- pressure zone of the lower esophageal sphincter muscle is recorded first. When the tube is in the esophagus, esophageal motor function is recorded during swallows. The motor function of the upper sphincter is then studied, after which the tube is removed.


Esophageal motility testing provides clear documentation of the muscular function of the esophagus. With this information, your doctor can provide a specific treatment program as well as reassurance if the exam is normal.


The side-effects of esophageal manometry are minor and may include mild sore throat, temporary irritation of the nasal passages, and nose bleeds. Occasionally, during insertion, the tube may enter the larynx (voice box) and cause coughing. When this happens, the problem is recognized immediately, and the tube is rapidly removed.

Alternatives to Manometry

There are no other tests that provide precise information about esophageal motility. There are, however, other techniques that can provide general information about esophageal function. These are: upper GI x-ray series using swallowed liquid barium; video endoscopy to visualize the inside lining of the esophagus; and a 24-hour probe left in the end of the esophagus to measure acidity as it refluxes from the stomach.

Esophageal Manometry: Articles & Resources
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