Upper GI Endoscopy
What is Upper GI Endoscopy?
Upper GI Endoscopy lets your doctor examine the lining of the upper part of your gastrointestinal tract, which includes the esophagus, stomach and duodenum (first portion of the small intestine). Your doctor will use a thin, flexible tube called an endoscope, which has its own lens and light source, and will view the images on a video monitor. You might hear your doctor or other medical staff refer to Upper GI Endoscopy as EsophagoGastroDuodenscopy (EGD) or panendoscopy
Why is Upper GI Endoscopy done?
Upper GI Endoscopy helps your doctor evaluate symptoms of persistent upper abdominal pain, nausea, symptoms of heart burn and acidity, vomiting or difficulty in swallowing. It’s the best test for finding the cause of bleeding from the upper gastrointestinal tract. It’s also more accurate than X-ray films for detecting inflammation, ulcers and tumors of the esophagus, stomach and duodenum.
Your doctor might use Upper GI Endoscopy to obtain a biopsy (small tissue samples). A biopsy helps your doctor distinguish between benign and malignant (cancerous) tissues. Remember, biopsies are taken for many reasons, and your doctor might order one even if he or she does not suspect cancer. For example, your doctor might use a biopsy to test for Helicobacter pylori, the bacterium that causes ulcers.
Your doctor might also use Upper GI Endoscopy to perform a cytology test, where he or she will introduce a small brush to collect cells for analysis.
Your doctor can pass instruments through the endoscope to directly treat many abnormalities – this will cause you little or no discomfort. For example, your doctor might stretch (dilate) a narrowed area, remove polyps (usually benign growths) or treat bleeding.
What preparations are required?
An empty stomach allows for the best and safest examination, so you should have nothing to eat or drink, including water, for approximately eight to ten hours before the examination. Your doctor will tell you when to start fasting as the timing can vary.
Tell your doctor in advance about any medications you take; you might need to adjust your usual dose for the examination. Discuss any allergies to medications as well as medical conditions.
Can I take my current medications?
Most medications can be continued as usual, but some medications can interfere with the preparation or the examination. Inform your doctor about medications you’re taking, particularly aspirin products or antiplatelet agents, arthritis medications, anticoagulants (blood thinner such as as warfarin or heparin), clopidogrel, insulin or iron products. Also, be sure to mention any allergies for medications
What happens during Upper GI Endoscopy?
Your doctor might start spraying your throat with a local anesthetic or by giving you a sedative to help you relax. You’ll then lie on your side, and your doctor will pass the endoscope through your mouth and into the esophagus, stomach and duodenum. The endoscope doesn’t interfere with your breathing. The procedure usually last less than 10 minutes and most patients can leave within one hour or after completion of the procedure.
What happens after Upper GI Endoscopy?
You will be monitored until effects of the medication have worn off. Your throat might be a little sore, and you might feel bloated because of the air induced into your stomach during the test. You will be able to eat after the procedure according to your doctor’s instructions.
Your physician will explain the results of the examination to you, although you’ll probably have to wait for the results of any biopsies performed.
If you have been given sedatives during the procedure, someone must drive you home and stay with you. Even if you feel alert after the procedure, your judgment and reflexes could be impaired for the rest of the day.
This information is intended only to provide general guidance. It does not provide definitive medical advice. It is very important that you consult your doctor about your specific condition.