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Understanding Esophageal Manometry

For those with problems swallowing and digesting food, an outpatient test called an esophageal manometry may be required. This is a fancy term for a test used to understand the physiology of how your esophagus functions. The results of this test can be used to help determine the diagnosis of a swallowing problem, and even offer insight on the best methods of treatment. Esophageal manometry evaluates the health of the esophagus. Your esophagus is your “food tube,” the long muscular tube-like structure that connects your mouth to your stomach. Gravity helps move food down from the mouth to the stomach, but your esophagus also helps push food into the stomach by contracting itself in a systematic fashion downwards into the stomach. Disorders in this process can cause problems in swallowing and discomfort, such as chest pain and pain when swallowing. For instance, if your esophagus does not work properly, food can become stuck at the top of your esophagus and cause discomfort during and after your meal.
This test is generally recommended for those who have chest pain, heartburn or acid reflux in Warner Robins. Esophageal manometry may also be a test ordered by surgeons and internists to check the status of the esophagus before any decision about reflux surgery is made. Performing the test does not take very long; it is often done within an hour or two. No sedative is given for the test, but a topical anesthetic is usually given to make the experience less pleasant. During the procedure, a small flexible tube is inserted through your nose and your oropharynx, and down into your esophagus. Breathing is not interrupted by the insertion of this tube. The tube itself is connected to a machine that can then measure the amount of peristalsis, or muscle contraction, in the esophagus. Readings are made when you are at both at rest and when you are swallowing. Afterwards, the tube is slowly drawn back out, and the results are processed. You should be able to go back to your daily activities almost immediately. You may feel a temporary soreness in your throat, but it should clear quickly. A doctor then read the results from the manometry and makes a decision about your care from there.


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