Esophageal Manometry

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Esophageal experts at Houston Methodist Lynda K. and David M. Underwood Center for Digestive Disorders use a quick outpatient test to examine and determine treatment for your unexplained swallowing and chest pain.


Our experienced gastroenterologists and GI surgeons will help you understand the cause of your chest pain. The esophageal manometry test measures the contractions executed by the muscles of the esophagus as it pushes food through the stomach.


The esophageal manometry test is an outpatient procedure performed in approximately 90 minutes. This minimally invasive technique uses a catheter (thin tube) inserted into your nose through your esophagus.


Once we receive the test results, we will design a treatment program customized to fit your specific needs. Esophageal manometry allows doctors to recommend treatment for gastrointestinal (GI) disorders.


Houston Methodist Hospital is ranked No. 5 by U.S. News & World Report for Gastroenterology & GI Surgery. U.S. News & World Report has also named Houston Methodist Hospital the No. 1 hospital in Texas every year since the award began and one of the nation’s best as a nationally ranked Honor Roll hospital.

IBD Conditions We Treat

What You Need to Know About the Esophageal Manometry

Why would an esophageal manometry be urgent?

If you have any of the symptoms below, it is important to schedule an appointment with our specialists:


  • Chest pain felt between the shoulder blades, neck or arms that worsens after a meal
  • Dysphagia – difficulty swallowing food or liquid
  • Heartburn – burning in the lower chest or the upper abdomen just beneath the breastbone
  • Regurgitation – backflow of food or liquid from the esophagus into the mouth
  • Unplanned weight loss
  • Vomiting – ejection of contents of the stomach

How do I prepare for the esophageal manometry test?

Do not eat or drink after midnight before your test. Do not smoke on the day of your test. If you are an asthma patient, carry your inhaler.


Follow your physician’s instructions on medications to discontinue. Drugs such as nitrates, calcium channel blockers, theophylline, metoclopramide or sedatives may affect esophageal motor activity. It is preferable to stop these drugs 24 hours before the test. Some pain medications such as opioids may need to be stopped for longer periods of time.


What should I expect on the day of the test?

The test will last less than one hour. You will be awake throughout the procedure. You may drive yourself home after the test. Your doctor will administer the esophageal manometry with the following steps:


  1. Your nurse will insert a catheter through your nose into your esophagus
  2. You will swallow small sips of water
  3. As you swallow, a computer connected to the catheter records the pressure, speed and pattern of your esophageal muscle contractions
  4. You will breathe in a slow and smooth fashion and swallow when asked
  5. We will remove the catheter after completion of the recording


Some patients may experience throat discomfort and nosebleed.

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