Esophageal Manometry

The esophagus

The esophagus is a long, muscular tube that propels food from the mouth to the stomach.  There is a strong ring-like muscle at the top of the esophagus called the UES (upper esophageal sphincter) and one at the bottom called the LES (lower esophageal sphincter). 


In its normal state, the LES is in a closed position preventing stomach contents from backing up into the esophagus (this condition is called reflux).  During the process of swallowing, the LES will open allowing food and liquids into the stomach.   Damage to the esophagus may occur should the LES:

  • Open at times other than swallowing
  • Not close completely

Why manometry is performed

Your doctor may want you to have this test because you have:

  • Symptoms of difficulty or painful swallowing,
  • Non-cardiac chest pain
  • Chronic heartburn for which you are now considering surgery as an alternative to continued medication.

Preparation for the procedure

Discuss with your doctor, the use of any medications prior to the study. Do not eat or drink anything by mouth for six hours before the procedure.


The day of the test

  • Arrive at Huron Valley-Sinai Hospital a half hour prior to your scheduled appointment.
  • Enter through the Garden entrance on the south side of the Huron Valley Sinai Hospital
  • Report to the outpatient surgical registration desk
  • You may come alone and drive yourself after the test

The test itself

Your test will be performed by a RN who will be assisted by a technician.  You will NOT be sedated during the procedure, which will last approximately 40 minutes.   You should try not to talk, laugh, or swallow during the test unless requested.


You will be placed in a comfortable, semi-sitting position on a stretcher.  The inside of your nose will be numbed with a medicated gel to minimize discomfort with the catheter placement.   A small catheter will be passed through your nose and positioned in your stomach.


During the course of the study you will be asked to take deep breaths or swallow a number of times.   The pressure resulting from these movements will be detected and recorded by tiny sensors located on the catheter.  The recording will be transferred to a report for review and interpretation by your doctor.


After the test

Because you will not be sedated, you will be free to drive yourself home.   Unless otherwise indicated by your doctor, you may resume eating and taking your medications immediately following the test.  Your doctor will have the readings within a couple of days.



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