What you can expect

By Mayo Clinic Staff

Esophageal manometry is an outpatient procedure done without sedation. Most people tolerate it well. You may be asked to change into a hospital gown before the test starts.

During esophageal manometry

  • While you are sitting up, a member of your health care team sprays your throat with a numbing medication or puts numbing gel in your nose or both.
  • A catheter is guided through your nose into your esophagus. The catheter may be sheathed in a water-filled sleeve. It doesn't interfere with your breathing. However, your eyes may water, and you may gag. You may have a slight nosebleed from irritation.
  • After the catheter is in place, you may be asked to lie on your back on an exam table, or you may be asked to remain seated.
  • You then swallow small sips of water. As you do, a computer connected to the catheter records the pressure, strength and pattern of your esophageal muscle contractions.
  • During the test, you'll be asked to breathe slowly and smoothly, remain as still as possible, and swallow only when you're asked to do so.
  • A member of your health care team may move the catheter down into your stomach while the catheter continues its measurements.
  • The catheter then is slowly withdrawn.

The test usually lasts 20 to 30 minutes.

After esophageal manometry

When your esophageal manometry is complete, you may return to your normal activities.

Jun. 06, 2012