Upper Endoscopy (EGD)
Why is it done?
The three main reasons doctors perform upper endoscopies include evaluating symptoms, diagnosing conditions, and treating conditions in the upper GI tract.
Evaluating Symptoms – This examination is more accurate than other imaging techniques (like an x-ray) and helps your doctor to determine the cause of your symptoms. Your doctor may use an upper endoscopy to evaluate signs or symptoms including:
- abdominal pain
- chronic heartburn/Acid Reflux/GERD/Barret’s Esophagus
- difficulty swallowing
- gastrointestinal bleeding
During an upper endoscopy, doctors will look for inflammation, tumors, ulcers, and other abnormalities in the esophagus, stomach, and duodenum. Doctors may also collect small tissue samples (biopsies) during the procedure. These samples are sent for lab analysis and can help diagnose anemia, bleeding, inflammation, diarrhea, H. pylori, and upper GI cancers.
Treating GI Conditions
The device used by gastroenterologists during an EGD is called an endoscope. The endoscope can be equipped with small, specialized tools to treat problems in the digestive system. This includes removing foreign objects, widening a narrow esophagus, or removing polyps.
Preparing for an Upper Endoscopy
Your doctor must have a clear view of the upper GI tract, so you will be advised not to eat anything after midnight the night before your procedure. You will also need to stop drinking water at least 3 hours prior to your arrival time. You may not chew gum or tobacco.
Be sure to follow your doctor’s advice on medications prior to an upper endoscopy, especially if you take blood-thinning medication.
Because light sedation will be used, you will need to bring someone with you that can safely drive you home. Patients are not allowed to take taxis, Uber/Lyft, or public transportation.
What To Expect
You will be asked to lie down on your back or side. Sensors will be attached to your body that allows the procedure team to monitor your heart rate, blood pressure, and breathing.
You will receive sedation that helps you relax for the procedure. Your doctor may use an anesthetic to numb parts of your mouth.
Next, the doctor will slowly insert the endoscope into your mouth and down your throat. He or she may ask you to swallow during insertion to help the process. You may feel some pressure during the procedure but you shouldn’t feel pain.
After the procedure, you will be taken to a recovery room where your health team can monitor you while the sedation wears off.
You may have mild bloating or gas, cramping, or a sore throat after an upper endoscopy. If you’re in pain or concerned about your symptoms after the procedure, please call your doctor.