Esophagal Manometry

Esophageal Manometry is the recording of muscle pressures within the esophagus. The test gives valuable information about the strength and coordination of the waves of peristalsis in your esophagus as well as the strength of the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) valve located within the distal esophagus.

The equipment for esophageal manometry consists of a thin tube with pressure sensors along its wall. When this tube is positioned in the esophagus, these sensors measure the pressure as the esophagus squeezes. These pressure measurements are recorded and analyzed by a computer. Your doctor can then evaluate the wave pattern to determine if it is normal or abnormal.


Preparation for these studies is very simple. You should not eat or drink any food or liquids for about 8 hours before the exam. Small sips of water are OK. Antacid tablets are permissible until the night before the test.

Certain medications can interfere with these tests. You should review with your doctor all medications that you are taking to determine which should and should not be taken before these tests. In general, the following foods, drinks and medications should be stopped at least 72 hours before testing. However, do not stop taking any medications without first consulting with your doctor.

  • Caffeine (coffee, tea, cola, chocolate)
  • Alcohol (beer, wine, liquor)
  • Tagamet, Axid, Zantac, Pepcid, cimetidine
  • Prilosec, Prevacid, Aciphex, Nexium, Protonix
  • Propulsid, Reglan (metoclopramide)
  • Donnatal, Librax, Levsin
  • Urecholine (bethanechol)
  • Erythromycin, E-mycin
  • Nitroglycerin, Isordil
  • Calcium Channel Blockers Procardia, Adalat, Calan, Cardizem, etc
  • Beta-Blockers Corgard, Inderal, Lopressor, Tenormin, etc



Esophageal Manometry takes about an hour. The thin soft tubing is gently passed through the nose, or occasionally the mouth. Upon swallowing, the tip of the tube is positioned in the esophagus. There may be some mild gagging at this point, but quickly passes. You will be asked to swallow saliva (called a dry swallow) or sips of water (called a wet swallow) while various pressure recordings are made. This lasts about 15 minutes, then the tube is then withdrawn.


The procedure is generally safe and complications rare. Some patients will experience a mild sore throat after the procedure.


Patients are notified by their physician with the results either by phone or follow-up appointment.

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