Esophageal Motility Disorders

Esophageal motility disorders interfere with the regular muscle contractions that move food down the esophagus and into the stomach. These disorders cause difficulty in swallowing, regurgitation of food and occasionally painful spasms.

Tests & Diagnosis

  • Barium swallow study allows X-rays to be taken while a patient drinks a white chalky liquid to visualize the passage of the fluid through the esophagus and into the stomach.
  • High resolution manometry measures the strength, pressure and coordination of your esophagus' muscles. A specially trained nurse guides a small catheter through your nose and into the esophagus and instructs you to swallow small amounts of liquid at specific intervals.


  • Medical treatments aim to relax the smooth muscle of the LES and esophagus. Frequently used medications for patients with esophageal motility disorders include calcium channel blockers, smooth muscle relaxants, anticholinergics, and antianxiety medications.
  • POEM (peroral endoscopic myotomy): This procedure is performed using an  endoscope that is passed through the mouth with no external incisions. The  Esophageal Institute is the first and most experienced site in western  Pennsylvania to offer POEM as a new treatment option for esophageal motility  disorders.

Contact us

Call (412) 359-GERD (412) 359-4373 in Pittsburgh or (844) 412-GERD (844) 412-4373 in Erie for more information or to book a consultation.