Gastroenterology & Hepatology

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Division of Gastroenterology & Hepatology


Esophageal Manometry

What is Esophageal Manometry?

The esophagus is a tube-like muscle connecting the back of the mouth to the stomach.  During swallowing it contracts and pushes food from the mouth to the stomach.  Esophageal manometry is a way to test if the muscles in the esophagus are functioning properly.  Manometry is done by passing a small tube through the nose into the esophagus.  Tiny holes in the sides of the tube allow for the measurement of pressures within the esophagus and stomach.  The pressure readings indicate whether or not the esophageal musculature is contracting normally.  Problems such as difficulty swallowing, pain with swallowing, heartburn, chest pain, regurgitating and vomiting can be associated with abnormal esophageal muscle function.

What preparation is required?
Patients should not eat or drink for six (6) hours before the test.  If you have diabetes, we will need to give you specific instructions.  Please inform us if you are allergic to any drugs, such as lidocaine (similar to the anesthetic used by dentists when filling cavities).

Patients with diabetes should ask about specific instructions.  When scheduling the test, patients should let the staff know of any drug allergies (especially lidocaine, an anesthetic similar to that used by your dentist.  Patients should also list the drugs they are taking, since some may need to be stopped before the test.

What happens during the procedure?
Before the procedure, the nasal passage will be numbed with lidocaine jelly.  This anesthetic is applied with a cotton swab.  No other sedative or anesthetic is used.  The tube will then be passed through the nose. The tube will not interfere with breathing.  After the tube is passed, patients will lie down for the remainder of the test.  Small amounts of water or Jell-O will be placed in the mouth and swallowed. Sometimes the medications are inhaled or given by vein during the test. 

How long does manometry take?  Can I travel home by myself?
The entire test takes about one hour to complete.  Following the test, patients can drive home and resume their usual diet and activities. A report will be sent to the physician who requested the test.

Are there any complications from esophageal manometry?
Esophageal manometry is an extremely safe test.  We have performed over 5,000 manometries with no serious complication.  Patients may have a sore throat for a few hours afterward, and the nose may be slightly irritated form the passage of the tube.  Rarely patients have nosebleeds.  Patients should let the technician know if they have a tendency for nosebleeds or have suffered a broken nose.

Lower Gut or Anorectal Manometry

What is Lower Gut or Anorectal Manometry?
Lower Gut or Anorectal manometry is a test to measure pressures of the anal sphincter muscle and the ability to sense rectal distention. This is achieved by using a small, soft plastic water filled catheter. There is a small latex balloon attached to the end of the soft tube that is inflated during testing.

What preparation is required?
In most cases, there is no preparation. Patients should try to move their bowels before coming in for the test. If more thorough bowel preparation is required, they will be notified.

What should patients expect during the procedure?
There should be little, if any, discomfort during the manometry. Therefore, no anesthetic will be used. The catheter will be inserted into the rectum while patients lie on their left side. Patients will feel movement of the catheter and distension of the balloon.

How long does this procedure take?
The duration of this study will be approximately one hour.

What happens after a lower gut or anorectal manometry?
After the test patients can drive home and resume their usual work and diet. A report will be sent to the physician who requested the test.

Are there any complications from anorectal manometry?
Anorectal manometry is an extremely safe test. We have performed over 1,000 manometries with no serious complications. Make sure to inform the staff if you are allergic to latex rubber.



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Page Updated 10/02/2014