Upper Endoscopy (EGD)
What is an upper endoscopy?
An upper endoscopy is a diagnostic test used to examine the upper digestive system - the esophagus, stomach, and first part of the small intestine, known as the duodenum. The procedure is done by inserting a thin tube with a light and camera at the end through the mouth and into the esophagus. The images from the camera are viewed on a display screen during the procedure.
Why an upper endoscopy is Performed
An upper endoscopy is used to determine the cause of digestive system symptoms such as abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting, heartburn, bleeding and swallowing disorders. It is frequently used to diagnose gastroesophageal reflux disease, as well as ulcers and tumors.
How I Can Prepare for an Upper Endoscopy
In order to achieve accurate results, you must have an empty stomach before the procedure. You should not eat or drink anything for at least six hours before an upper endoscopy. Tell your doctor about any conditions or medications you take and he or she will instruct you on how to prepare.
For five (5) days prior to your procedure, you will be instructed not take medications such as aspirin, advil, aleve, arthrotec, celebrex, diclofenac, ibuprofen, indomethacin, meloxicam, mobic, motrin, naprosyn, naproxen, relafen, sulindac, or toradol. You also will be instructed not to take blood thinners such as plavix or coumadin, among others your cardiologist has prescribed. Do not stop any blood thinners without first speaking to your cardiologist.
Preparing for an Upper Endoscopy Instructions
The following PDF document contains instructions on Preparing for an Upper Endoscopy. It can be downloaded to your computer and printed at home.
What I Can Expect During the Procedure
Before the procedure, an IV is inserted with medication to make the patient relaxed and sleepy. The heart, blood pressure and oxygenation of the blood are monitored throughout the procedure. The patient will lie on his or her side and the doctor will insert the endoscope into the mouth and all the way down to the stomach. A biopsy may be taken during the procedure to further examine a certain area. The procedure usually takes 15-30 minutes. You will not be able to drive for the remainder of the day but eating and other normal activities may resume.
What Happens After the Procedure
After the procedure, the patient will be kept under observation for about 30 minutes while the medication wears off. Temporary soreness of the throat may occur but is usually relieved quickly. Most doctors require that patients are driven home because of the use of sedation. Complications from an upper endoscopy are rare, but if you experience severe abdominal pain, cough, fever, chills or nausea and vomiting, call your doctor immediately.
What to Expect
The surgical center will call you the day before the procedure to confirm your exact arrival time. Because of cancellations, times cannot be confirmed far in advance. Click for directions on how to get to the center.
Upon arrival at the center, you will sign in the reception area. Although coffee and snacks are available, do not eat or drink anything! All pre-menopausal women are required to take a urine pregnancy test prior to their procedure so, if you do have to go, have the nurse get you a specimen cup so you won't have to go twice.
You will then be led to the pre-procedure area. There you meet the anesthesiologist, who reviews your medical history and explains how the sedation works. You change your clothes and put on a hospital gown and a robe. An IV line is then inserted into your arm - through this line you will eventually get the sedative. The nurse then leads you into the procedure room, where you lie down on a bed. You will put in a protective plastic guard for your teeth. You then are given medication through your IV and gradually fall asleep. Since the procedure does not begin until after you are asleep, you will not feel any discomfort during the procedure.
During the procedure, a thin flexible tube called an endoscope is gently inserted into your mouth. The endoscope has a camera on the end of it, allowing it to be guided from your mouth into your stomach and intestine. The doctor will then examine your esophagus, stomach and intestine. He or she can take pictures, biopsies, inject medication or do whatever else is needed. The endoscope is then slowly withdrawn. The procedure itself takes approximately 10 to 15 minutes.
After the procedure is over, patients are taken to the recovery area. The sedation wears off quickly, so within 15 minutes you are awake and walking. The nurse will offer you a light snack of juice and crackers. Once you are fully awake your doctor will speak with you and review the results of your procedure. You and your family member will be able to ask any questions you may have. You can then go home. Generally, your diet is not restricted after the procedure.
Patients typically feel quite well after the procedure. If you develop fever, bleeding or abdominal pain once you are home you should contact your doctor.