Esophageal / Motility Studies Laboratory

Division of Gastroenterology

The esophagus, a muscular tube about 12 inches long, connects the back of the throat to the top of the stomach and allows us to swallow food and liquid. Although we take it for granted, swallowing is actually a complex process involving much coordination between the brain, throat and esophagus. Georgetown offers this specialized lab for evaluating esophageal disorders and diseases, including chest pain not caused by heart problems, swallowing disorders known as dysphagia, and GERD –gastroesophageal reflux disease – which can cause heartburn. The lab also offers tests to evaluate problems of motility that affect other parts of the body. Motility is the process of moving food and waste products through the digestive system.

The lab offers advanced diagnostic testing that includes:

  • Esophageal manometry, which measures the squeezing pressure of the esophagus. This test can be used to evaluate swallowing problems, reflux or esophageal spasms that can cause severe chest pain that mimics heart disease
  • pH studies, which use a small probe inserted into the esophagus to help diagnose reflux of acid. Wireless Bravo pH testing is also available.
  • Anorectal motility testing, which measures the pressure of the anal sphincter muscle in disorders including constipation and other symptoms
  • Gastric acid analysis, DCGA, secretion, pentagastrin