An oesophageal manometry is a diagnostic procedure that measures the pressure and muscle contracting in your oesophagus. This test can help us understand why you have trouble swallowing, feel like food gets stuck, or have heartburn often.
Oesophageal manometry meaning
What is oesophageal manometry?
Core Specialist Group is the only specialist clinic that offers oesophageal manometry on the Gold Coast. It’s a 24-hour pH/impedance test that we use to check the levels of acid in your oesophagus.
It helps us understand if you have acid reflux, which can cause heartburn and other symptoms. The procedure measures the amount and chemical nature of reflux episodes over a 24-hour period. We can then connect or link your specific symptoms to the acid reflux episodes which helps us to provide better management and treatment options.
During the test, we monitor how the food that you eat moves from your throat to your stomach, a process called ‘peristalsis’. It’s like a wave of muscle contractions that helps push the food down. We also check how well the valves (or sphincters) at the throat and stomach are working. These sphincters help keep the food and stomach acid in the right places.
Oesophageal manometry testing helps us understand how these processes are working so that we can find the best way to manage and treat your symptoms.
Oesophageal manometry is sometimes called an ambulatory acid probe test or high-resolution oesophageal manometry.
- Ambulatory refers to the fact that the test is conducted while you’re doing your daily activities.
- High resolution refers to a specific type of test, utilising advanced technology to provide detailed and precise measurements of the muscular contractions and pressures in the oesophagus.
Who requires Oesophageal manometry testing?
Patients with chronic heartburn or other suspicions of gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (GORD) may be asked to undergo this procedure.
Oesophageal manometry is not limited to GORD. Here is a list of all the conditions oesophageal manometry can test for and diagnose:
- Gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (GORD): Chronic acid reflux causing heartburn,
- Dysphagia: Difficulty swallowing foods or liquids,
- Atypical chest pain
- Achalasia: Oesophageal motility disorder leading to difficulty swallowing and regurgitations,
- Hiatus hernia: A condition where part of the stomach protrudes into the chest through the diaphragm,
- Heartburn: Burning sensation in the chest caused by acid reflux,
- Waterbrash: Excessive saliva production caused by acid reflux,
- Throat clearing: Frequent clearing of the throat,
- Reflux: The backward flow of stomach acid into the oesophagus,
- Dysphonia: Abnormal voice.
Oesophageal manometry Gold Coast
How is an oesophageal manometry and pH testing performed?
An oesophageal manometry and pH study is typically done by doctors that specialise in the oesophagus. At Core Specialist Group, both Dr Anna Isaacs and Dr Candice Silverman perform the procedures. They are Upper GI surgeons with years of expertise in the oesophagus, stomach, pancreas and other organs of the digestive system.
It’s a simple procedure and most of our patients report back that it is not painful. Local anaesthetic spray is used to numb the nose and throat. Then we place a small catheter through your nose and you will be asked to swallow small sips of water during this time. As you swallow, the catheter will measure the pressure in your oesophagus and it will record muscle contractions.
Once the oesophageal manometry study is completed, the catheter is removed and replaced with a pH catheter. It then stays in place for 24 hours and is attached to a recording device. After the additional catheter is inserted you may go home. You are then asked to return to our rooms the next day for the removal.
These acid studies are often undertaken to confirm if an operation is even required. After 24 hours we remove the catheter and you may expect results within 1 week after the test.
Oesophageal manometry referral
Do I need a GP referral?
If you are experiencing symptoms such as frequent heartburn, difficulty swallowing, chest pain or other discomforts related to your oesophagus, it is important to talk to your general practitioner.
Your GP may then refer you to Core Specialist Group when they believe the test is necessary to understand your symptoms and optimise your treatment plan.