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What is esophageal manometry?

Esophageal manometry is a procedure in which a small flexible tube is placed into the nose and passed into the esophagus. It can determine how well your child’s esophagus is working by measuring the pressure and coordination of the esophageal muscles. At Boston Children’s Hospital, we perform esophageal manometry using the most advanced equipment and high-resolution manometry with impedance, which allows us to evaluate how the food moves down the esophagus. By gauging the strength of these muscles and its relationship with the flow of food, clinicians may learn more about your child’s symptoms, such as difficulty swallowing, chest pain, or gastroesophageal reflux.

What happens before, during, and after esophageal manometry?

Your child must have an empty stomach to undergo esophageal manometry. A member of the gastroenterology or endoscopy staff will tell you how long before the procedure your child must stop eating and drinking. You may have to stop giving your child certain medications for up to 48 hours before the procedure. A member of the gastroenterology team will call you to discuss specific preparation instructions for your child.

Let your child know the tube may cause some pressure and discomfort as it passes through the nose and could cause coughing, mild nose bleeding, sneezing, or gagging. Your child will need to sit upright on the bed for the procedure. If your child is given medicine to relax, they will wear a heart and oxygen monitor. Depending on your child’s age, they may be given a numbing medicine inside their nose. The tube will be placed into the stomach. Afterward, your child will be asked to swallow sips of water or eat food and measurements will be taken at each level of the esophagus.

Esophageal Manometry | Programs & Services