Esophageal Manometry: A Reliable Method for Diagnosing Reflux and Dysphagia

Esophageal Manometry

Esophageal manometry is a test that measures the movements and pressure changes of the esophagus (esophagus). This test is used to understand how the esophagus works and is performed especially in people who have difficulty swallowing or symptoms of reflux.

What is the purpose of the esophageal manometry test and why is it performed?

Esophageal manometry is a test that measures the contraction and relaxation movements of the esophagus. The esophagus is a tube that runs from your mouth to your stomach and has contractile movements (peristaltic movements) that carry the food and liquids you swallow into the stomach. Esophageal manometry is used to check whether these movements are smooth.

This test is usually recommended for the following conditions:

  1. Esophageal Spasm: This swallowing problem is characterized by multiple, strong, poorly coordinated muscle contractions of the esophagus.
  2. Achalasia: This rare condition occurs when the lower esophageal sphincter muscle cannot relax to allow food to enter the stomach. This can lead to difficulty swallowing and food coming back up into the throat.
  3. Scleroderma: In many people with this rare disease, the muscles in the lower esophagus stop moving, leading to severe gastroesophageal reflux.

If your doctor has recommended anti-reflux surgery to treat gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), you may need esophageal manometry to make sure you do not have achalasia or scleroderma, which GERD surgery cannot help.

How is Esophageal Manometry Performed?

Esophageal manometry is usually done using a thin, flexible tube (catheter) that is passed through your nose and reaches the esophagus. This tube takes pressure readings in various parts of the esophagus. During the swallowing action, it is examined whether the esophagus contracts properly and how it moves food towards the stomach.

The following steps are followed when performing esophageal manometry:

Preparation: Before the procedure, the patient’s stomach must be completely empty. For this reason, patients are usually asked not to eat or drink water at least 6 hours before the procedure.

Anesthesia: Local anesthesia is usually used. This is necessary to ensure patient comfort and minimize discomfort during the procedure. Anesthesia is usually administered in the form of a nasal spray.

Catheter Placement: After anesthesia, a special catheter is advanced through your nose into the esophagus and stomach. This catheter has multiple sensors that can take pressure measurements in various parts of the esophagus.

Pressure Measurements: Once the catheter is in place, it measures muscle movements and pressure changes in the esophagus. This stage usually involves swallowing movements; measurements are taken while the patient swallows certain amounts of water.

Data Collection and Evaluation: The data obtained during the measurements are recorded on a computer for later analysis and evaluation. This data is used to assess the functioning of the esophagus and identify potential problems.

Catheter Removal: After the procedure is complete, the catheter is carefully removed.

Esophageal manometry usually takes between 30 minutes and 1 hour and is usually performed on an outpatient basis. After the procedure, the patient can usually resume normal activities. However, some patients may experience a mild sore throat after the procedure.

What are the Advantages of Esophageal Manometry Test?

  1. Definitive Diagnosis: In people with swallowing disorders and reflux symptoms, esophageal manometry is an effective tool for understanding the functioning of the esophagus. By measuring the movements of the esophagus and pressure changes, it allows us to identify the source of swallowing problems or reflux.

  2. Treatment Planning: Esophageal manometry helps to identify problems in the functioning of the esophagus. This information is very important in planning and individualizing the treatment approach.

What are the Risks of Esophageal Manometry Test?

Esophageal manometry is generally a safe procedure, but like any medical procedure there are some risks. There may be mild discomfort during the insertion of the catheter. There is also, in very rare cases, a risk of infection.

Esophageal manometry is an important tool in understanding swallowing disorders and reflux. It is an important tool for making the correct diagnosis and creating an effective treatment plan. Talk to your doctor for more information.