Gastroenterology

Esophageal Manometry

esophageal manometry

Digestive System Illustration
Copyright A.D.A.M., Inc.

An esophageal manometry is an examination of the esophagus (swallowing tube) through a small flexible catheter (thinner than a pencil). It is inserted through your nasal passage into the esophagus and passed into the stomach. The end of the catheter contains pressure sensors, which will measure the pressure of the upper and lower esophageal valves, as well as the contractions of the esophagus as you swallow.

The other end of the catheter, which emerges from the nose, is connected to a computer monitoring system which records the internal pressures continuously and in detail. You may also receive some medications to assist with your diagnosis. This allows a specially trained physician to examine the esophagus and to identify any abnormalities.

Plan to do in advance

Medications, Vitamins and Supplements:
To properly prepare for your procedure, you may need to make certain changes to your daily medication routine.

  • Discontinue all motility drugs, such as Propulsid (Cisapride), Reglan (Metoclopramide), Levsinex (Hyoscyamine), Levsin, or Bentyl (Dicycloine), 24 hours before your procedure, unless your doctor has instructed you to continue taking the medications for the tests.
  • Avoid the use of narcotics for 24 hours before your procedure.
  • If you take insulin, consult with your physician about making any necessary changes in you daily regimen.
  • Certain medications should be continued prior to your lower esophageal manometry. If you take cardiac (heart) or anti-hypertensive (high blood pressure) pills, take them as you normally do with small sips of water.

In addition to changes to your medication:

  • Bring a list of all your medications (prescription medications, over-the-counter medications and eye drops) with you on the day of your procedure. You may bring the medication bottles themselves.
  • Be prepared to list and describe your allergies and reactions to any medications.
  • Bring any information the physician may need, including X-ray or endoscopy reports, to your visit.
On the day before your procedure

To ensure the most accurate results possible, it is important that you do not eat or drink anything after midnight on the day before your procedure, unless you are scheduled for an afternoon procedure. The exception is medication taken with small sips of water.

If you scheduled for an afternoon procedure, you may continuing drinking clear liquids up to 6 hours prior to your arrival time.

Drink clear liquids including water, apple juice, ginger ale, sprite, beef or chicken broth WITHOUT noodles, coffee or tea WITHOUT cream or milk, most sodas, sherbet, pop-sicles, and Jell-O that is not red or orange. Do not drink anything red or orange.

On the day of your procedure

On the day of your esophageal manometry, please come directly to the requested location at your scheduled arrival time and check in with the receptionist. Plan to spend several hours at the unit to allow time for your preparation, your procedure, and your recovery.

If you have a history of heart disease, make sure you tell the nurse performing your test before it begins. If you do have a history of heart disease, your doctor may decide NOT to perform a certain portion of the test.

Before the procedure, a nurse will greet you and assist you with changing into a hospital gown. An IV may be placed in your arm for medications during your procedure. The specially trained nurse will pass the thin, flexible tube into the esophagus and into the stomach. The test takes approximately 1 hour to complete.

After your procedure

As soon as the procedure is completed, the tube will be removed. You may then return home and resume your normal activities. Your physician will review the test results and discuss them with you during your follow-up appointment or will send a report to your referring physician.

If you would like to speak to a nurse regarding your procedure or preparation, or if you need to reschedule your procedure, please call the appropriate number:

  • Perelman Center for Advanced Medicine
    Procedure Questions: 215-662-2122
    To Reschedule: 215-349-8222
  • Penn Presbyterian Medical Center
    Procedure Questions: 215-662-9131
    To Reschedule: 215-662-8900

These instructions apply to patients scheduled for procedures at the Perelman Center for Advanced Medicine, Penn Presbyterian Medical Center and Penn Medicine Radnor. However, your doctor may give you different instructions or procedures. If you have questions about your procedure, contact your physician at the Digestive & Liver Center.