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Pediatric Motility Testing

USNWR Gastroenterology

Pediatric motility testing


Pediatric motility testing provides our staff with information regarding how the intestines move, relax, and contract. Motility testing also allows staff the ability to measure perceptions of the gastrointestinal complaints, including discomfort and pain.

Colonic manometry

Colonic manometry testing is utilized to evaluate how the muscles of the colon work. During this test a catheter is placed in the colon (or large intestine) to assist with measuring how the muscles and nerves are working. The manometry catheter is placed by colonoscopy while the patient is sedated. The catheter is connected to a computer that measure the coordination and strength of the colonic muscles. The test is performed once the patient wakes from sedation.

Esophageal manometry

Esophageal manometry is used to evaluate how the esophagus works. During the test the child will be awake. A small catheter (tube) will be placed into the nose and then moved into the esophagus. Once the tube is in place, the child will be asked to swallow a variety of consistencies of foods or drinks, ranging from liquid to solid. The catheter is connected to a computer which records coordination of muscles and the strength of contractions in the esophagus with each swallow. The catheter may need to be moved during the study to ensure it is in the appropriate location for the test. After the study is completed, the child may resume normal diet, activity and play.

Antroduodenal motility study

Antroduodenal Motility Studies assess how the stomach (antrum) and the first part of the small intestine (duodenum) function. This test will evaluate the strength and coordination of muscle contractions of the stomach and small intestine. During the test, a small catheter is passed through the nose, down the esophagus into the stomach and then finally into the small intestine. The tube is placed while the patient is sedated but the study is conducted once the child wakes from sedation. If the child has a gastrostomy tube the catheter will be placed through the gastrostomy rather than through the nose.

Anorectal manometry (anal manometry)

Children who have problems with stooling may be asked to have a test called an Anorectal Manometry. This test is used to assess the relaxation of the Anorectal muscles which work to assist with the control of bowel movements. The muscles, known as sphincters, are normally closed and keep stool in the rectum. When it is time to have a bowel movement these muscles open, allowing stool to pass through the rectum. Anorectal Manometry can also determine if the child’s sensation is altered with regards to stretching or distention of the rectum. During this test a small catheter with a balloon attached to the tip is inserted into the child’s rectum. The balloon is then slowly inflated in an attempt to allow the child’s muscles to open up simulating stool in the rectum. The catheter is connected to a computer monitor which allows staff to monitor the patient’s response.