A long tube is inserted into the nose and down the esophagus during an esophageal manometry. The goal of this procedure is to identify whether or not the lower esophagus sphincter and the esophagus muscles are working hard enough to get food to pass through.
What is it?
An esophageal manometry is used to find out if the patient’s lower esophageal sphincter is working to keep reflux from happening and lower esophageal muscles are able to move food along normally. If a patient is having unexplained difficulty swallowing or heartburn/chest pain, doctors might try this procedure if they think something could be wrong with the esophagus.
What should I do to prepare?
It is important for individuals to communicate any heart and lung conditions or any other diseases they have had in the past. Individuals should not consume food within four to six hours prior to the procedure and may need to avoid certain dietary supplements and medications. It is important for individuals to remember to have a long talk with their doctors about the medications they are taking and whether or not they should be continued or put on hold for the procedure.
What happens during the process?
During an esophageal manometry, doctors will begin by applying an anesthetic cream to the nose to allow the tube to pass without causing discomfort. The patient may feel some discomfort as the tube is being placed and it is rare, but possible, that gagging or vomiting can occur. Once the test starts the patient will lie on their left side. The tube has sensors along it and measures the strength of the esophageal muscles. The doctor will ask patients to drink some water during the test. As they drink the water the tube picks up information about the working esophagus. The test should last around 10 to 15 minutes. Once complete, the tube will be removed and the results will be examined.
What are the risks and potential complications?
- Sore throat
- Puncture in the esophagus
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