Upper endoscopy, also known as EGD, is a procedure in which a thin scope with a light and camera at its tip is used to look inside the upper digestive tract — the esophagus, stomach, and first part of the small intestine, called the duodenum.
Usually performed as an outpatient procedure, upper endoscopy sometimes must be performed in the hospital or emergency room to both identify and treat conditions such as upper digestive system bleeding.
The procedure is commonly used to help identify the causes of:
Endoscopy can also help identify inflammation, ulcers, and tumors.
Upper endoscopy is more accurate than X-rays for detecting abnormal growths such as cancer and for examining the inside of the upper digestive system. In addition, abnormalities can be treated through the endoscope. For example:
Before an upper endoscopy, tell your doctor if you are pregnant, have a lungor heart condition, or if you are allergic to any medications.
Also, tell your doctor if you have:
If you have any of these conditions or devices, you may need to take antibiotics before the upper endoscopy.
Do not eat or drink anything for eight hours before the procedure.
Medications for high blood pressure, heart conditions, or thyroid conditions may be taken with a small sip of water before the procedure. If you have diabetes and use insulin, you must adjust the dosage of insulin the day of the test. Your diabetes care provider will help you with this adjustment. Bring your diabetes medication with you to your appointment so you can take it after the procedure.
Make arrangements to have someone drive you home following the endoscopy. The sedation given during the procedure causes drowsiness and dizziness and impairs your judgment, making it unsafe for you to drive or operate machinery for up to eight hours following the procedure.
Before your doctor performs an upper endoscopy, he or she will explain the procedure in detail, including possible complications and side effects. The doctor will also answer any questions you may have.
Most procedures take 15 to 20 minutes.
After an upper endoscopy:
If you have severe abdominal pain, a continuous cough or fever, chills, chest pain, nausea, or vomiting within 72 hours after an upper endoscopy, call your doctor’s office right away or go to the emergency room.
Is Endoscopy Safe?
Serious risks with an endoscopy are rare. However, excessive bleeding is always a possibility and rarely a tear in the esophagus or stomach wall can occur.
Heartburn is a disease that occurs when gastric contents flow backward from the stomach into the esophagus. It is also termed reflux and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) or pyrosis.
If you have heartburn or acid reflux often, you may have GERD. To know for sure, you’ll need to see your doctor.Don’t try to diagnose yourself with GERD or treat it on your own.
A virtual colonoscopy uses computed tomography (CT)or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to make a three-dimensional image of the interior lining of your large intestine (colon) and rectum.