||Understanding Upper Endoscopy
What is upper endoscopy?
Upper 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 endoscopy
as upper GI endoscopy, esophagogastroduodenoscopy (EGD) or panendoscopy.
If your doctor has recommended upper endoscopy, this brochure will
give you a basic understanding of the procedure - how it's performed,
how it can help, and what side effects you might experience. It can't
answer all of your questions, since a lot depends on the individual
patient and the doctor.
Please ask your doctor about anything you don't understand.
Why is upper endoscopy done?
Upper endoscopy helps your doctor evaluate symptoms of persistent
upper abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting or difficulty swallowing. It's
an excellent 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 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, bacterium that causes ulcers. Your
doctor might also use upper endoscopy to perform a cytology test,
where he or she will introduce a small brush to collect cells for
analysis. Upper endoscopy is also used to treat conditions of the
upper gastrointestinal tract. Your doctor can pass instruments through
the endoscope to directly treat many abnormalities with little or
no discomfort. For example, your doctor might stretch a narrowed area,
remove polyps (usually benign growths) or treat bleeding.
How should I prepare for the procedure?
An empty stomach allows for the best and safest examination, so you
should have nothing to eat or drink, including water, for approximately
six hours before the examination. Your doctor will tell you when to
start fasting. 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,
such as heart or lung disease. Also, alert your doctor if you require
antibiotics prior to undergoing dental procedures, because you might
need antibiotics prior to upper endoscopy as well.
What can I expect during upper endoscopy?
Your doctor might start by 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, Most patients consider the test only
slightly uncomfortable, and many patients fall asleep during the procedure.
What happens after upper endoscopy?
You will be monitored until most of the effects of the medication
have worn off. Your throat might be a little sore, and you might feel
bloated because of the air introduced into your stomach during the
test. You will be able to eat after you leave unless your doctor instructs
you otherwise. Your doctor generally can tell you your test results
on the day of the procedure; however, the results of some tests might
take several days.
If you received sedatives, you won't be allowed to drive after the
procedure even though you might not feel tired. You should arrange
for someone to accompany you home because the sedatives might affect
your judgment and reflexes for the rest of the day.
What are the possible complications of upper endoscopy?
Although complications can occur, they are rare when doctors who are
specially trained and experienced in this procedure perform the test.
Bleeding can occur at a biopsy site or where a polyp was removed,
but it's usually minimal and rarely requires follow-up. Other potential
risks include a reaction to the sedative used, complications from
heart or lung diseases, and perforation (a tear in the gastrointestinal
tract lining). It's important to recognize early signs of possible
complications. If you have a fever after the test, trouble swallowing
or increasing throat, chest or abdominal pain, tell your doctor immediately.
ASGE Patient Education brochures are available for purchase in packs
of 50. Download order form.
ASGE - The Source for Colonoscopy and Endoscopy
The preceding information is intended only to provide general information
and not as a definitive basis for diagnosis or treatment in any particular
case. It is very important that you consult your doctor about your