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Motility Testing

Often symptoms alone cannot be reliably used for accurate diagnosis of a patient's motility disorder. Proper evaluation of patients with suspected gastrointestinal motility disorders is important to correctly diagnose a patient's condition and to treat the patient in an appropriate manner. Tests of gastrointestinal (GI) motility allow the assessment and identification of abnormal patterns and physiology.

For each area of the GI tract, there are different GI motility tests that assess different functions and provide different types of information.

Gastrointestinal motility testing provides physicians with important information for patient care including:

  1. Correct diagnosis of GI motility disorders,
  2. A guide for treatment of patients, and
  3. Prognostic information of the patient.

The first set of tests that are often recommended define the anatomy of the intestinal tract. Possible structural problems need to be ruled out before proceeding to the second set of studies, which evaluate how the GI tract functions.

Learn About Testing of the

  • Esophagus
  • Stomach
  • Small Intestine
  • Large Intestine
  • Anorectal and Pelvic Floor Areas 

Motility Testing Centers Registry

    The Clinical Practice Committee of the American Neurogastroenterology and Motility Society (ANMS), a professional organization of physicians and researchers, has developed the ANMS Registry of Clinical GI Motility Laboratories that have experience in performing high quality GI motility procedures commonly used for the evaluation of patients. The ANMS Registry serves several purposes: 1) identify GI motility laboratories that perform procedures using standards recommended by the American Neurogastroenterology and Motility Society; 2) facilitate awareness of these centers for health care providers who do not have direct access to a GI motility laboratory; 3) facilitate awareness to patients who are either seeking such centers or wish to be evaluated for their condition. (Requires Adobe Reader.)

Adapted from IFFGD Publication #111 by Bruce A. Orkin, MD, Division of Colon and Rectal Surgery, The George Washington University, Washington, DC, and "On-Tract: Topics in Gut Motility" by Henry Parkmann, MD, Associate Professor of Medicine and Physiology, Temple University School of Medicine, Philadelphia, PA, published in Digestive Health Matters, Vol. 14, No. 4.

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