Patients who are experiencing difficulty swallowing, chronic heartburn or unresolved chest pain may be candidates for esophageal manometry – a special test that is performed on an outpatient basis by a skilled gastroenterologist. Patients do not have to be sedated for an esophageal manometry test, but a topical anesthetic is typically administered. In this procedure, the physician passes a small, flexible tube through the nose and esophagus and down into the stomach. This tube has a sensor that records the muscle contractions as the patient swallows water. The test lasts a little more than 30 minutes, after which the patient may notice a slight sore throat but should be able to return to normal activities immediately.