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Your doctor has suggested you have an esophageal motility study as part of the evaluation at National Jewish Health. An esophageal motility study is a diagnostic test that will evaluate the function of your esophagus. The esophagus is a muscular hollow tube that transports food from your mouth to your stomach. The results of this study will help your doctor determine a diagnosis and the best treatment for you.


Preparing for the Test

To prepare for your esophageal motility study and ensure accurate results, you may need to make changes to your daily routine.  

Planning ahead:

  • Do not eat food or drink liquids for at least 6 hours before the test.
  • If you are diabetic, please bring your glucose meter, test strips, and a source of fast-acting glucose with you (such as glucose tablets or glucose gel).
  • Follow your doctor’s instructions concerning your medications.
  • Your doctor or nurse will provide you with other specific instructions. Please check with your doctor to ensure that you are not taking anything that may affect your study. 


During the Test

When you arrive the nurse will explain what will be done before, during and after the esophageal motility study. If you have any questions, please ask.

The study involves having a small flexible tube gently inserted through your nose into the esophagus. You may feel a little pressure in your nose or a minor amount of throat irritation as the tube is passed. This sensation will subside once the tube is positioned. The tube will be secured at your nose and attached to a recording device.

You will be asked to swallow fluids at different times during the study to evaluate the function of your esophagus. During the study you will be able to talk and swallow normally, but you should try to talk and swallow only when instructed.

You will be able to drive yourself home after the study. Your doctor will review the test results and discuss them with you at a later date.


Length of the Test

Plan on being at National Jewish Health for at least 1 hour, although sometimes people stay longer.


Getting to the Test

On the day of your scheduled test, check in at the Front Desk. If you have questions please call 303.398.1355. Also, if you need to cancel the appointment or change the time please call.


This information has been approved by Phillip D. Hanna, MD (April 2011).