How Does an Esophageal Motility Test Work?


Quick Answer

To perform an esophageal motility test, a doctor passes a tube through a patient's nose, into the esophagus and eventually the stomach, according to Mayo Clinic. Doctors use the test to diagnose conditions of the esophagus.

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Full Answer

A doctor may recommend an esophageal motility test to patients who experience symptoms of an esophageal disorder, explains Mayo Clinic. The test shows how food moves through the esophagus, and it measures how well the sphincters at the bottom and top of the esophagus function. The test also measures the strength, pressure and patterns of esophageal muscle contractions.

Doctors use an esophageal manometry test to diagnose conditions such as diffuse esophageal spasm, achalasia and scleroderma, states Mayo Clinic. Diffuse esophageal spasm is a rare condition where the esophagus muscles begin contracting multiple times, too forcefully or poorly. Achalasia is an uncommon issue that occurs when the lower sphincter of the esophagus does not relax enough to allow food to get into the stomach. People with this condition often have weak esophagus muscles, which may cause difficulties with swallowing or the regurgitation of food into the throat. Scleroderma is another rare disorder, but it is progressive, and with this condition, the muscles in the lower area of the esophagus stop working, causing serious gastroesophageal reflux.

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