Esophageal Manometry Test Diagnosis & Testing

What is esophageal manometry?

Esophageal manometry is a test used to measure the function of the lower esophageal sphincter (the valve that prevents reflux of gastric acid into the esophagus). This test will tell your doctor if your esophagus is able to move food to your stomach normally.

The manometry test is commonly given to people who have:

  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Pain when swallowing
  • Heartburn
  • Chest pain


Before the test Medications

Please follow the instructions below (unless told otherwise by your doctor)


  • One day (24 hours) before the test, taking: Calcium channel blockers: such as Calan, Isoptin, (verapamil); Adalato, Procardia (nifedipine); Cazrdizem (diltiazem). Nitrate and Nitroglycerin products: such as lsordil (isosorbide); Nitrobid, Nitrodisc, Nitrodur, Nitrogard, Transderm-Nitro, Tridil
  • Tweleve hours before the test, do not take sedatives: such as Valium (diazepam), Xanax (alprazolam)
  • Do not stop taking any other medication without first talking with your doctor.


Day of test Eating and drinking

  • Do not eat or drink anything 4 to 6 hours before the test


During the test

  • You are not sedated. However, a numbing lubricant (pain-relieving medication) will be applied to your nostril to make the passage of the tube more comfortable.
  • A small flexible tube is passed through your nose, down the back of the throat and into your stomach. The tube does not interfere with your breathing.
  • You may feel some discomfort as the tube is being placed, but it takes only about a minute to place the tube. Most patients quickly adjust to the tube’s presence. Vomiting and coughing are possible when the tube is being placed, but are rare.
  • The end of the tube exiting your nose is connected to a machine that records the pressure exerted on the tube. The tube is then slowly withdrawn. Sensors at various locations on the tubing sense the strength of the lower esophageal sphincter and the muscles of the esophagus. During the test, you will be asked to swallow a small amount of water to evaluate how well the sphincter and muscles are working. The sensors also measure the strength and coordination of the contractions in the esophagus as you swallow.
  • The test lasts 20 to 30 minutes. When the test is over, the tube is removed. The gastroenterologist will interpret the recordings that were made during the test.

After the test

  • Your physician will notify you when the test results are available or will discuss the results with you at your next scheduled appointment.
  • You may resume your normal diet and activities and any medications that were withheld for this test. You may feel a temporary soreness in your throat. Lozenges or gargling with salt water may help.
  • If you think you may be experiencing any unusual symptoms or side effects, call your doctor.


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