What’s the test for?
Oesophageal manometry is a test used to measure the function of the lower oesophageal sphincter. This test will look at how your oesophagus, or food pipe, functions.
You may be referred for an oesophagus functionality test if your doctor or consultant wants to find out about any reflux, chest discomfort and/or why you’re having difficulty or pain while swallowing. There could be a medical reason for your reflux which oesophageal manometry would help clarify. This could include a problem with the sphincter muscle holding the bottom of the food pipe shut. It could also be an indication of underlying health problems.
This test is often performed in combination with reflux testing .
About the procedure
The test involves inserting a thin, flexible tube called a catheter (2 – 3 mm diameter) through your nose, down the back of your throat into your oesophagus and stomach. A topical anaesthetic will be applied to your nose to make the passage of the tube more comfortable.
The tube will be positioned so that it has pressure sensors over the entire length of your oesophagus. Once in position, it will be taped to your nose for the duration of the test, but don’t worry, this will not affect your breathing.
During the test, you will be asked to take sips and swallows of slightly salty water and some food to allow us to see how the muscles are functioning. Recordings of oesophageal pressures will be made over about 10 mins and then the tube will be removed.
The results will be displayed as a wave pattern that can be analysed by a gastroenterologist to see if your oesophagus is functioning normally.
If you are paying for this test yourself and not through private medical insurance, the cost will be £1,060.
What can be learned
An oesophagus functionality test like this will use the catheter to measure the rhythmic muscle contractions that occur in your oesophagus while swallowing. The catheter will measure these contractions as well as the force and coordination of your oesophagus muscles as they move food into your stomach. Oesophageal manometry is helpful when diagnosing certain disorders that affect your oesophagus.
Following your test, your data will be analysed and results written up into a report. The report will be sent to both you and your referring consultant/doctor, who will explain the results to you in a follow-up consultation.