Esophageal Manometry Testing

What is an esophageal motility (manometry)?

An esophageal motility (or manometry) is a procedure that enables your doctor to evaluate the muscles in your esophagus. It is performed by passing a small flexible tube through your nose into your esophagus. Once the tube is in place, it allows muscle activity to be assessed. This procedure is used to help diagnose patients who suffer from chest pain, heartburn, acid reflux or difficulty swallowing. It is also used to measure the pressure of the muscle at the lower end of the esophagus before surgery.

What should I expect during esophageal motility?

Plan to spend up to 2 hours at the center the day of your procedure. The actual procedure takes about 10 to 15 minutes to complete. You will be lying down during the procedure. Once the tube is in place, you will need to swallow when you are asked. The tube will not interfere with your breathing. No sedation is required. A nurse designated by the physician will do the procedure.

What happens after the exam?

You may return home or to work after the exam and resume your usual diet and activities.

Are there possible complications with esophageal motility?

This exam is very safe and there are very few potentially serious complications. You may feel minor discomfort during the procedure or have a sore throat after the procedure.


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If you have diabetes, ask your regular doctor for diet and medication restrictions. Do not take your oral diabetes medicine on the day of your procedure. If you take metformin, stop taking it the day before your endoscopy. Also, please bring your Insulin and Insulin syringes with you to your procedure; we will check your blood sugar before and after the procedure.

If you take a medication to thin your blood (such as Coumadin, Plavix, Pradaxia or Lovenox) be sure to discuss this with the doctor performing your procedure. You must get your prescribing doctor’s permission if you need to stop these medications.

If you currently are taking other prescription medications, you may continue to take all other medications as instructed by the prescribing physician.

If you are or may be pregnant, please discuss the risks and benefits of this procedure with your doctor.

You MUST arrange for a ride for the day of your exam. If you fail to arrange transportation with a responsible adult, your procedure will need to be cancelled and rescheduled. Your driver must check in with you and stay in our office the entire time that you are there. We cannot start your procedure if you do not have a driver present. In addition to this, you may not take a taxi or ride the bus by yourself. This is for your safety.

If you must cancel or reschedule your appointment, please call 404-355-3200 at least three days prior to your procedure to avoid any late cancellation fees.

If you have any special needs, such as a pacemaker, internal defibrillator, latex allergy, need an interpreter, or if you are allergic to eggs, nuts or soy, please contact our office immediately. Your procedure may need to be rescheduled.


To ensure a successful exam, please follow all instructions carefully. Failure to accurately and completely prepare for your exam may result in the need for an additional procedure and both procedures will be billed to your insurance.

The night before your exam:

  • Stop eating solid foods at midnight.
  • Clear liquids are okay to drink (examples: water, Gatorade, clear broth, black coffee and apple juice).
  • Do not drink red liquids or alcoholic beverages.

The day of your exam:

  • You may take your usual medications with up to 4 oz. of water at least 2.5 hours prior to your procedure. Be sure to wear comfortable clothes and shoes that will remain on your feet (preferably tennis shoes) to your procedure. Please do NOT wear flip flops, sandals, or backless shoes.
  • Please remove ALL jewelry including earrings, rings, bracelets, anklets, necklaces, and watches prior to the procedure, and be sure to leave any and all other valuables at home.
  • Plan to spend up to two hours at the endoscopy center the day of your procedure. The exam itself takes about 15 minutes to complete.
  • Please call 404-605-3840 if you have any questions regarding the actual procedure.

Additional information:

The Piedmont Hospital GI lab is located on the first floor of the 77 building. It is most convenient to park in the North parking deck. Take the elevator to the bridge level (BR). You will need to go to the 77 building registration office to register for your procedure. After getting off at the bridge level you will walk through a glassed-in-bridge and go straight. You will pass the 77 building (D) elevator, which will be located on your left. The registration office is located in the next hallway on your left. Once inside, a member of the registration staff will help you complete some additional paperwork, and then escort you to the GI Lab for your procedure. This should take approximately 15 minutes.

Please be certain to have all of the following items with you:

  • A list of all of your current medications, including any allergy or over-the-counter medications.
  • A photo ID.
  • All your up-to- date insurance information, such as your insurance card or required referral forms.