If you are experiencing acid reflux or other esophageal issues like difficult swallowing or heartburn, you’ll want to head to a gastroenterologist’s office to get a handle on what’s going on. But how will your specialist figure out what’s going on in your esophageal canal? One diagnostic test that is very helpful in this situation is an esophageal manometry test. We explain what the procedure entails and how it is performed in today’s blog.
The Benefits Of An Esophageal Manometry Test
The Esophageal Manometry Test, also known as an EMT, is a procedure that is designed to measure the function of your esophagus and lower esophageal sphincter. The lower esophageal sphincter is a valve that helps prevent stomach acid from making its way back up into the esophageal canal by opening and closing at the right time. The EMT is designed to ensure your esophagus can move food through the canal and close off this sphincter normally.
An EMT is commonly recommended for individuals suffering from symptoms like:
- Difficulty swallowing
- Painful swallowing
- Chest discomfort, especially after eating
How Is An Esophageal Manometry Performed?
While small details may vary slightly from clinic to clinic, the general procedure for an EMT is as follows:
The patient will not be sedated during the procedure. A topical anesthetic may be applied to the nose region to make the passage of the tube more comfortable, but you will be awake during the procedure. Patients don’t need to be put out because it is not considered a painful procedure – at most it is mildly uncomfortable. After topical anesthesia is applied, a small catheter is passed down your nose, through your esophagus and into your stomach.
Once the tube is inserted, which only takes about a minute, you’ll be asked to lie down on your left side. The part of the tube that exits your nose is attached to a device that can read and record pressure that is placed on the tube. Sensors along the tube relay signals about pressure and muscle strength in different areas of the esophageal canal. After a short while, you’ll be asked to consume a small amount of water at different intervals, which will lead to esophageal muscle engagement. This will allow your doctor to see how the muscles in the area function when asked to assist in the passage of a substance. After about 10-15 minutes, the tube is removed and your gastroenterologist will interpret the results generated by the recording device.
After reading the data, your specialist will go over your results and discuss what’s going on in their professional opinion. In most cases, they’ll have a clear or suspected diagnosis, and this will allow you to begin a targeted treatment plan. You’ll want to follow your physician’s specific advice based on their interpretation of your test results.
As for life after the test, you can resume eating foods and liquids as you normally would unless your doctor recommends otherwise based on your diagnosis, but the test itself shouldn’t lead to short- or long-term dietary changes. You may experience some minimal discomfort when eating or drinking shortly after the test due to the insertion and removal of the tube, but this sensation often fades quickly after a day or two.
So if you want to get to the bottom of your heartburn or swallowing issue, consult with a gastroenterologist in your area and see if a diagnostic test is in your best interest. For more information, reach out to Dr. Bhatti and his team today.