Esophageal Motility Studies/24-Hour Ph Monitoring
These procedures help physicians diagnose the causes of chronic heartburn and/or swallowing difficulties, and are often used in conjunction in diagnosing acid reflux and developing treatment plans.
The esophageal motility study is a 30 to 45 minute procedure that measures pressure and muscle tone in the esophagus by means of a probe. Similarly, a small probe is inserted into the esophagus to allow monitoring of pH levels—the measure of acidity—for 24 hours. Patients wear a device called a digitrapper through which they record incidents of heartburn, chest pain and other symptoms. When the monitoring period is over, physicians correlate the patient’s recorded observations with the results of the pH monitor, to determine how fluctuations in acidity relate to symptoms. Neither of these tests requires anesthesia or sedation.