Esophageal Manometry

Esophageal manometry is a type of evaluation to assess the pressure in your esophagus when you swallow. In a healthy swallow, your esophagus smoothly squeezes food and liquids down from your throat to your stomach. When your esophagus doesn’t function correctly, the muscles may not generate enough pressure, and you may feel like foods stick in your throat or chest. Esophageal 24-hour pH/impedance and reflux monitoring is a test to measure the amount and frequency of reflux in your esophagus and throat over a 24-hour period. There is also a symptom tracking device to help your doctors understand how your reflux symptoms are related to actual reflux events.

Esophageal Manometry Test Example

Why are Esophageal Manometry and 24-hour pH Reflux Monitoring Tests Performed?  

These tests are performed to help your doctors understand and treat the causes of your swallowing and reflux symptoms. For example, you may feel like food sticks in your throat or chest when you swallow, or you may have coughing during or after meals. The manometry test will show colored pressure graphs of your swallow, and the pH monitoring will document your reflux events over a 24-hour period. 

What to Expect from a Manometry and 24-hour pH Impedance Study?  

Esophageal Manometry Test EquipmentIn esophageal manometry, a small pressure-sensing catheter is inserted through your nose, throat, and esophagus and into the top part of your stomach. Your nose will be numbed with topical numbing gel. The catheter will remain in place for about 10 to 15 minutes while your clinician asks you to swallow small drinks of saline (salt water) to test the function of your esophagus. The catheter will then be removed.  

If you are also having pH testing, your doctor will then insert another very small catheter through your nose down to your stomach. The end of the catheter will be taped to your nose and cheek and wrapped over your ear. There will be a small data recorder for you to wear to document when you have your reflux symptoms. The catheter will remain in place for a 24-hour period. During this time, you will be able to breathe, talk, and swallow normally.  

Potential Complications with the Esophageal 24-hour pH Reflux Monitoring Test

Provider explaining Esophageal Manometry test results.Esophageal reflux monitoring is very safe. You will likely feel some discomfort in the nose and throat, but this is temporary and mild. Rarely, there could be a nose bleed as a result of the procedure. Extremely rarely, there could be a tear in the wall of the esophagus, throat or lung.