Esophageal Manometry

The esophagus (e-sof-ah-gus) is a hollow tube-like structure that connects the mouth to the stomach. This tube is made up of muscles and membranes and serves as a passageway for food.

There are two sphincters (sfink-ters), which are ring-like muscles at each end of the esophagus. The sphincter at the upper end of the esophagus helps to carry food from the mouth to the stomach. The sphincter at the lower end of the esophagus helps to keep the contents in the stomach from coming back up into the esophagus.

The purpose of the esophageal manometry test is to show how well the esophagus and these sphincters work together.

  • Your child should have no solid foods for eight hours before the test
  • Your child may have clear liquids up to four hours before the test, and then nothing by mouth after that (clear liquids include sugar water, Kool-Aid, Jell-O, Popsicles, apple juice, ginger ale or water)
  • Explain to your child how the test is done (The nurse will help you with this. It may be helpful for your child to bring a favorite toy. This will make your child more comfortable during the procedure.)

Your child will lie on a table in an X-ray room in the Motility Lab or an X-ray room. The doctor and nurse will wear gowns, gloves and plastic glasses.

A small tube with several holes in it will be passed into your child's nose and down through the esophagus. Your child may be given medication to help him / her relax before the test is started. Time will be allowed for your child to adjust to this tube before formal testing begins.

This tube is connected to a machine that has a monitor. Your child will be asked to swallow and will be offered sips of water and possibly small pieces of solid foods during the procedure. As swallowing occurs, the changing pressure in the tube makes tracings on the computer and records these tracings on paper. This gives the doctor a record of how well the esophagus and the sphincters are working.

During the test, parents may be with their child or wait in the waiting area. The test will take about an hour.

Your child may gag when the tube is first passed into the esophagus. A nurse will be with your child to help with comfort measures.

Your child will be asked to lie as still as possible during the test.

The position of the tube will be changed throughout the test. Your child may be asked to swallow sips of water and small pieces of soft solid food at certain times during the test.

This test does not cause pain, although it may be uncomfortable for your child.

  • Your child may return to a normal diet, play and usual activities. If sedation has been used, your child may return to usual activities when the effects of the medicine wear off.
  • Your doctor will discuss the results of the test with you.

Last Updated 10/2012