Doctor taking blood pressure of patient.

Esophageal Motility Study

When you have an esophageal motility disorder, you could be reminded of it with every swallow. Providence is committed to getting to the root of what ails you with the use of safe, effective diagnostic procedures.  When you suffer from chronic heartburn or acid reflux, difficulty swallowing or non-cardiac chest pain, an esophageal motility study can help you doctor understand the cause and ultimately treat the problem. 

The esophagus provides coordinated pushing (motility) of swallowed food or drink from the mouth into the stomach. An esophageal motility study allows your doctor to test the pressure in the lower part of your esophagus. This procedure measures the rhythmic muscle contractions and muscle force exerted when you swallow. The results of the study will help your doctor diagnose and treat your health condition.

Your doctor may suggest an esophageal motility test if you have difficulty swallowing (dysphagia) or pain when swallowing (odynophagia). It’s a common diagnostic tool to determine the cause of acid reflux or heartburn, and non-cardiac chest pain.

You should avoid eating or drinking eight hours before your scheduled test. Inform your doctor of all the medications you are taking or any latex allergies. Your doctor may advise you to stop certain medications in preparation for the test.

Numbing spray may be used to numb the back of your throat or nose, depending on the insertion method. Next, a thin tube will be inserted into your mouth or nose and pulled back to your esophagus. You will be asked to swallow once the tube is in place in your esophagus. While initially uncomfortable, you’ll likely adapt to the tube once it’s been placed. As you are swallowing, the tube measures the pressure of your esophageal muscle contractions.

The test takes about an hour to complete. You may resume all normal activities and diet after the procedure.

Esophageal motility study is a safe, non-invasive diagnostic procedure. While complications are highly uncommon, it is normal to experience slight discomfort or soreness in your nose or throat for up to 24 hours after.