Oesophageal manometry

What is Oesophageal Manometry?

Oesophageal manometry (also called oesophageal motility, Esophageal manometry, or sometimes just manometry) is a procedure to measure the strength and function of your oesophagus and provides information about how the muscles in your throat and oesophagus work as food and liquids pass from the mouth to the stomach. Oesophageal manometry is performed for the following reasons:

  • To evaluate the cause of acid reflux (regurgitation) of stomach acid and other contents back up into the oesophagus
  • To determine the cause of difficulty with swallowing food.
  • To determine the cause of non-cardiac chest pain

This is an important test as it will confirm whether the oesophagus is contracting normally and will be strong enough to push food through the LINX™ device, should you opt for LINX™ Reflux Surgery.


What can be learned from Oesophageal Manometry?

In the majority of cases the pressure studies are normal, though there is often some weakness at the lower end at the level of the lower oesophageal sphincter (LOS) consistent with reflux disease. Manometry can identify / diagnose:

  • Weakness in the LOS that allows stomach acid and contents to back up into the oesophagus.
  • Several oesophageal conditions that result in food sticking after it is swallowed eg achalasia, a condition in which the muscle of the LOS does not relax with each swallow, trapping food within the oesophagus. Manometry reveals an absence of waves and contraction of the muscle everywhere in the oesophagus at the same time.
  • Abnormal function of the body of the oesophagus which may result in food getting stuck. In patients with scleroderma the waves of muscular contractions fail to occur. With oesophageal spasm the entire oesophageal muscle may contract at one time which can cause discomfort, pain and obstruct food passage.


What does the manometry procedure involve?

You should not eat anything for 6-12 hours prior to the manometry procedure, although you will be able to drink water. You may also have to stop taking certain medications prior to the procedure, see medication guidance. The procedure takes about 45 minutes from start to finish after which you will be free to resume all normal activities.

Your nostril and throat is first numbed with a topical anaesthetic. Then a 4mm flexible tube (about the width of a pencil) is passed through the nostril, down the back of the throat into the oesophagus and stomach, while you swallow water. The tube has holes in it that sense pressure along the oesophagus and will be positioned so that the pressure sensors cover the entire length of the oesophagus. While you lie comfortably, you will be given small sips of water to record the progression of the swallow and measure the contractions of the oesophageal muscle (at rest and during swallows). The tube will be withdrawn from your stomach slowly while pressure recordings are made. At the end of the test, the tube is removed.


To enquire about a manometry test
Call 0845 128 0053 or

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