The esophagus pushes food from the mouth into the stomach by a pattern of muscular contractions along its wall called peristalsis. The lower esophageal sphincter (LES) muscles at the junction of the esophagus and stomach prevent the backflow of digested food. Esophageal manometry is a study performed to measure the motility of the esophagus to determine how well it is functioning. It can help investigate heartburn, nausea or swallowing difficulties and diagnose conditions such as gastroesophageal reflux disease, achalasia, a weak LES and esophageal spasm.
Esophageal manometry is performed under local anesthesia. Your doctor places a narrow tube through your nose into your esophagus and instructs you to swallow. The tube has sensors along its length, which measure the force of muscle contractions, as well as LES muscle pressure.
The procedure usually has minimal risks but occasionally one may experience sore throat, nosebleed or a perforation of the esophagus.