Esophageal manometry is used identify how the esophageal muscles contract. The esophagus is the organ that connects the mouth to the stomach.

This test takes approximately 30 to 60 minutes to perform. A thin catheter (tube) is placed through the nose and positioned in the esophagus. Pressure measurements of the Lower Esophageal Sphincter (LES), the body of the esophagus and the upper esophageal sphincter are then recorded and processed by a computer. This study is very useful for evaluating a patient prior to surgery for GERD (Nissan Fundoplication), achalasia and chronic swallowing disorders.

Upper_4This study is extremely useful in evaluating the pressure contractions of the esophagus. It is used to aid in the diagnosis and evaluation of achalasia, chest pain, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), and motility disorders.


After being interviewed by the nursing staff at the hospital, a thin plastic tube, which has pressure sensors imbedded in the wall, will be placed into the esophagus through the nose. The nose may be anesthetized with a topical solution or a spray. Pressure measurements are then recorded during dry and wet swallows. A solution of HCL (hydrochloric) acid may also be used to further evaluate the esophageal function. The test usually requires about an hour to perform.


Your physician will inform you as to which medications you should take. You should not eat or drink anything for 12 hours prior to the procedure.


The complications associated with this procedure are rare, but may include:

  • Nose bleeds
  • Sore throat
  • Perforation of the esophagus
  • Pneumonia

Each individual risk may be different in any patient. If you have questions concerning these risks, your physician will be able to assist you further.


After the procedure is completed, your blood pressure, etc. will again be recorded by the nursing staff. You may then leave the hospital and return to your normal activities. Your physician will then interpret the graphs of the study and send a copy to your physicians.

For More Information

To learn more about this topic, visit:
American Gastroenterological Association (AGA)