EGD (Upper GI Endoscopy)
Upper GI endoscopy, EGD or Esophagogastroduodenoscopy uses a small video camera at the end of a thin flexible tube or endoscope to examine the esophagus, stomach and upper duodenum.
Your gastroenterologist may recommend an upper GI endoscopy to determine the cause of certain symptoms, such as abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, difficulty swallowing, gastric reflux, anemia, unexplained weight loss or bleeding.
An EGD may also be used to remove food or objects that are stuck in the upper GI tract, to treat bleeding ulcers or to obtain a biopsy. It may also be used as part of a series of diagnostic tests for other suspected conditions like liver disease, stomach infections or other inflammatory intestinal conditions.
Upper GI Endoscopy Procedure
If your gastroenterologist recommends that you have an upper GI endoscopy, then you will be provided with detailed instructions to prepare for the examination.
Prior to the EGD, the upper GI tract must be empty. Patients may be asked to refrain from eating or drinking for up to eight hours prior to the procedure.
Discuss any medications that you take with your gastroenterologist as some of these medications may need to be stopped for a short time before the procedure.
An Upper GI endoscopy is performed in a specialized endoscopy facility or in a hospital. You will be given local throat anesthetic and a mild sedative to ensure your comfort during the procedure.
During the procedure, you will be placed on your side as the endoscope is guided through the mouth, down the esophagus and into the stomach and duodenum. A small video camera in the endoscope transmits images to a television screen so your gastroenterologist can visually examine structures and tissues. If needed, tissue samples or biopsies can be collected for additional examination.
During the procedure you can breathe normally. Many patients sleep through the entire procedure which may last up to twenty minutes depending upon what is examined and found.
After your Upper GI Endoscopy
Following the procedure, you will rest until the sedative wears off. This may take about an hour. Your gastroenterologist will discuss findings with you before you leave and will provide you with detailed care instructions to follow as you return to normal activity. You should arrange to rest for the remainder of the day. You will not be allowed to drive until the following day.
Risks and Complications with Upper GI Endoscopy
The most common side effect of upper GI Endoscopy is a mild sore throat that is temporary. Immediately following the procedure patients may feel bloated, but this feeling tends to diminish as the sedative wears off. Nausea is uncommon, but may occasionally occur. Detailed information about upper GI endoscopy will be discussed with you by your doctor. In addition, any risks, complications, and benefits will be discussed prior to your procedure so that you can ensure that you are aware of all that is involved with the EGD procedure.
For more information please visit the American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy.