What is esophageal manometry?
Esophageal manometry is a test that is used to measure the function of the lower esophageal sphincter (the valve that prevents reflux, or backward flow, of gastric acid into the esophagus) and the muscles of the esophagus. This test will tell your doctor if your esophagus is able to move food to your stomach normally.
The manometry test is commonly given to people who have:
- Difficulty swallowing
- Pain when swallowing
- Heartburn and/or regurgitation (bringing food back up after swallowing it)
- Chest pain
The swallowing and digestive processes
When you swallow, food moves down your esophagus and into your stomach with the assistance of a wave-like motion called peristalsis. Any interference or problems with this wave-like motion may cause chest pain or problems with swallowing.
In addition, the lower esophageal sphincter (the muscular valve connecting the esophagus with the stomach) prevents food and acid from backing up out of the stomach into the esophagus. If this valve opens when it is not supposed to, food, acid and stomach enzymes can enter the esophagus and cause a condition called gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). If the lower esophageal sphincter is not opening during a swallow, it may be a sign of a condition called achalasia, which causes difficulty swallowing.