An esophageal motility study is a test that checks how well your esophagus (the tube connecting your throat to your stomach) squeezes and moves food. During the procedure, a thin and flexible tube called a catheter is placed into your esophagus through your nose. This tube measures the contractions of your esophageal muscles.
The test is helpful in figuring out the cause of problems like difficulty swallowing, chest pain, spasms in the esophagus, food coming back up, or severe acid reflux. It can also be done before you have surgery on your esophagus to get a better understanding of its function.
If you need an esophageal motility study, you can find a gastroenterologist who performs this test at The Gut Clinic UK. They will guide you through the process and help diagnose any issues with your esophagus.
Your doctor will provide you with specific instructions on how to prepare for the exam. In general, most patients can eat their regular meals the day before the exam. However, after midnight, you should not eat anything except for your medications. It is important to follow these instructions carefully to ensure accurate test results.
Your doctor will also give you additional instructions regarding your medications. In most cases, you can continue taking your medications as usual. However, if you are taking blood thinners or if you have diabetes, your doctor may give you special instructions on how to manage your medications before the exam.
Remember, it’s important to follow your doctor’s instructions to ensure the best results from the exam. If you have any questions or concerns about the preparation, don’t hesitate to reach out to your doctor for clarification.
What happens on the day of the esophageal motility study?
On the day of your exam, you’ll need to arrive at the Endoscopy center about 30 minutes early. This will give you enough time to complete some paperwork and get ready for the exam.
Once you’re in the procedure room, you’ll lie down on an exam table. The nurse will numb one of your nostrils with a medication called lidocaine. Then, a thin catheter will be gently inserted through your nostril and into your esophagus. Don’t worry, it may feel a little strange, but it shouldn’t be painful. While the catheter is being inserted, you’ll be asked to swallow to help make it easier to pass through.
The nurse will position the catheter to measure the squeeze of your lower esophageal sphincter and the muscles in the body of your esophagus. To do this, you’ll be asked to swallow 10-20 sips of water. Once this part is done, the exam is complete, and the catheter will be removed. The whole process usually takes around 30-60 minutes.
Since you won’t be sedated for the exam, you’ll be able to leave the endoscopy unit right after it’s finished. Most patients can eat and drink normally after leaving, but the medical team will provide you with specific instructions about what activities you can do, what to eat, and any medications you may need to take after the exam. Just make sure to follow these instructions carefully for the best recovery.
You won’t receive the results of your esophageal motility study right away. The data collected during the exam needs to be analyzed by a computer to generate graphs and tables. Your doctor will then interpret the results at a later time. You can expect to be contacted by your doctor’s office within a week to discuss the results of the exam with you.
An esophageal motility study is a very safe procedure, and complications are rare, occurring in less than 1% of patients. Most complications are not life-threatening, but in some cases, they may require hospitalization and surgery.
Although it is very uncommon, there is a small risk of perforation or puncture of the esophagus during the procedure. This may be identified right away or it could become apparent later in the day. If you experience worsening abdominal pain, bleeding, or fever after the procedure, it is crucial that you contact your specialist immediately.
It’s important to understand that like any other test, an esophageal motility study is not perfect and there is a small chance that abnormalities can be missed during the exam. It’s essential to continue following up with your doctors as instructed and inform them of any new or persistent symptoms you may experience.
Depending on the specific reason for needing an esophageal motility study, there may be alternative tests available. In most cases, the esophageal motility study is the preferred method to assess the muscle function of the esophagus. However, an x-ray called an esophagram, which involves swallowing a contrast liquid, can also be used to evaluate the esophagus. This may be done alone or as part of an upper GI/barium swallow test. Your healthcare provider will determine the most appropriate test based on your individual needs and symptoms.
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