Oesophageal manometry is a technique used to study the movements or muscle contractions of the oesophagus (gullet).
The oesophagus is a muscular tube connecting the throat to the stomach. Muscular movements or contractions move food and liquid down the oesophagus after swallowing. If these movements are abnormal, swallowing may be difficult, pain may occur, or contents of the stomach may reflux (move upward) in to the oesophagus.
Oesophageal Manometry records the movements of the oesophagus so they can be studied in detail.
Understanding how the oesophagus works, will help your doctor decide whether certain treatments will help your condition.
The information from oesophageal manometry is quite different from that provided by other investigations such as Xrays or gastroscopy.
Oesophageal manometry usually takes between 10 and 20 minutes. Movements of the oesophagus are recorded from inside the oesophagus by using a soft plastic tube about 5mm in diameter through which water is slowly pumped. The nose and throat are first anaesthetised with anaesthetic jelly and spray and the tube is gently passed through the nose. You will be given water to drink to help the tube pass easily in to the oesophagus.
Measurements are taken while swallowing water or biscuits, and sometimes after inflating the oesophagus with air introduced through the tube.
No sedation or general anaesthetic is required, so you will be able to drive home.
You will be given some idea of the findings of the study before you leave, and a detailed report will be forwarded to your doctor within a few days.
Oesophageal manometry is a safe procedure and difficulties are uncommon. The local anaesthetic can cause temporary irritation of the nose and watering of the eyes.
Rarely, particularly if there have been previous injuries or operations on the nose, there may be some difficulty passing the catheter. If you have had problems with your nose in the past, please inform the doctor before the test. The catheter does not interfere with breathing. There may be minor discomfort or an awareness of the catheter in the nose or the throat during the test. After the test you should not have anything hot to eat or drink for one hour to allow the local anaesthetic to wear off.