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Esophageal Motility Study

(757) 668-7000

The esophagus is the tube through which food and liquid goes from the mouth to the stomach. Esophageal motility study is a test used to measure the strength and muscle coordination of your esophagus. This test is also called esophageal manometry. This test gives information about the strength of the muscles in the esophagus and how well these muscles work as food and liquids are swallowed.

Preparing for the test

  • Your child should consume a clear liquid diet only, starting 24 hours before the test.
  • Do not allow your child to drink anything 4-6 hours before the test.
  • Some medications will affect the results of this test and will need to be stopped to prepare for this test. If your child takes medications, check with his/her doctor.
  • Bring a favorite blanket, toy, or music to comfort your child.
  • The test will take approximately 30 – 45 minutes.

What happens during the test?

  • Numbing medication will be applied to your child’s nose to make your child more comfortable while the doctor places the tube.
  • A small flexible tube will be placed in one of your child’s nostrils and gently advanced to the back of his/her throat and down the esophagus into the stomach.
  • The tube may cause some discomfort but it will not interfere with your child’s breathing. We will tell your child to take slow, deep breaths which should help with the discomfort.
  • Once the tube is in place, the end of the tube will be connected to a computer that measures the pressure in your child’s esophageal muscles.
  • Your child will be given small sips of Gatorade to drink during the study. 
  • Your child may be given food to consume in addition to liquid, as part of the study.

What happens after the test?

  • Your child’s doctor will contact you with the test results.
  • Your child can have his/her normal diet.
  • Your child can continue his/her normal activities.
  • Restart any medications that were stopped for this test.
  • Your child may have a slight sore throat after the tube is pulled out. Lozenges or gargling with salt water may help.
  • Your child may have a nosebleed, but this is rare.
  • If your child is experiencing any unusual symptoms or side effects, or if you have any questions or concerns, call your doctor.

Disclaimer: This information is not intended to substitute or replace the professional medical advice you receive from your child's physician. The content provided on this page is for informational purposes only, and was not designed to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease. Please consult your child's physician with any questions or concerns you may have regarding a medical condition.

Reviewed: 01/2018

(757) 668-7000