Esophageal manometry is an examination, in which the doctor can investigate the movements of the muscles in the esophageal wall. This could also provide information on the functioning of the sphincter between the esophagus and the stomach.
The purpose of esophageal manometry is to determine the cause of certain symptoms, such as difficulty swallowing, problems with the passage of food or pain at the sternum. A cause could be, for example, acid reflux.
The esophagus is a muscular tube of about 30 centimeters long. Food is actively moved towards the stomach by the muscles in the wall of the esophagus. In the transition to the stomach is a sphincter located. This little muscle ensures that gastric contents cannot flow back upwards. When the muscles in the esophageal wall don’t work properly or are cramped, this can lead to problems.
The pressure is measured with the aid of a tube (catheter or probe), in which pressure meters are incorporated. The pinching force of the muscles, and also any crampings, can thus be measured.
With esophageal manometry, a thin tube is put through the nose into the stomach. The insertion can be nasty and often causes nausea. If necessary, the nose can be numbed with nose drops. If the tube has arrived in the stomach, it is withdrawn centimeter by centimeter. Here, the sphincter between the stomach and the esophagus is passed. Next, the probe is withdrawn into the esophagus and the patient will have to drink about ten sips of water at intervals. Finally, the tube passes the sphincter between the esophagus and the throat and is then removed. During the entire examination, the muscle pressure is measured. The examination takes 30 to 40 minutes.