Upper Endoscopy

What is Upper Endoscopy

Upper Endoscopy is a procedure to look inside the upper GI (gastrointestinal) tract. The upper GI tract is made up of:

  • The tube that carries food and liquid from your throat to your stomach (esophagus).
  • The stomach.
  • The first part of your small intestine (duodenum).

This procedure is also called esophagogastroduodenoscopy (EGD) or gastroscopy. In this procedure, your health care provider passes a thin, flexible tube (endoscope) through your mouth and down your esophagus into your stomach. A small camera is attached to the end of the tube. Images from the camera appear on a monitor in the exam room.

During this procedure, your health care provider may also remove a small piece of tissue to be sent to a lab and examined under a microscope (biopsy). Your health care provider may do an upper endoscopy to diagnose cancers of the upper GI tract. You may also have this procedure to find the cause of other conditions, such as:

  • Stomach pain.
  • Heartburn.
  • Pain or problems when swallowing.
  • Nausea and vomiting.
  • Stomach bleeding.
  • Stomach ulcers.

Tell a health care provider about:

  • Any allergies you have.
  • All medicines you are taking, including vitamins, herbs, eye drops, creams, and over-the-counter medicines.
  • Any problems you or family members have had with anesthetic medicines.
  • Any blood disorders you have.
  • Any surgeries you have had.
  • Any medical conditions you have.
  • Whether you are pregnant or may be pregnant.

What are the risks?

Generally, this is a safe procedure. However, problems may occur, including:

  • Infection.
  • Bleeding.
  • Allergic reactions to medicines.
  • A tear or hole (perforation) in the esophagus, stomach, or duodenum.

What happens before the procedure?

  • Follow instructions from your health care provider about eating or drinking restrictions.
  • Ask your health care provider about changing or stopping your regular medicines. This is especially important if you are taking diabetes medicines or blood thinners.
  • Plan to have someone take you home after the procedure.
  • If you go home right after the procedure, plan to have someone with you for 24 hours.

What happens during the procedure?

  • An IV tube will be inserted into one of your veins.
  • Your throat may be sprayed with medicine that numbs the area (local anesthetic).
  • You may be given a medicine to help you relax (sedative).
  • You will lie on your left side.
  • Your health care provider will pass the endoscope through your mouth and down your esophagus.
  • Your provider will use the scope to check the inside of your esophagus, stomach, and duodenum. Biopsies may be taken.

The procedure may vary among health care providers and hospitals.

What happens after the procedure?

  • Do not drive for 24 hours if you received a sedative.
  • Your blood pressure, heart rate, breathing rate, and blood oxygen level will be monitored often until the medicines you were given have worn off.
  • When your throat is no longer numb, you may be given some fluids to drink.
  • It is your responsibility to get the results of your procedure. Ask your health care provider or the department performing the procedure when your results will be ready.

Care After Upper Endoscopy

Refer to this sheet in the next few weeks. These instructions provide you with information about caring for yourself after your procedure. Your health care provider may also give you more specific instructions. Your treatment has been planned according to current medical practices, but problems sometimes occur. Call your health care provider if you have any problems or questions after your procedure.

What can I expect after the procedure?

After the procedure, it is common to have:

  • A sore throat.
  • Bloating.
  • Nausea.

Follow these instructions at home:

  • Follow instructions from your health care provider about what to eat or drink after your procedure.
  • Return to your normal activities as told by your health care provider. Ask your health care provider what activities are safe for you.
  • Take over-the-counter and prescription medicines only as told by your health care provider.
  • Do not drive for 24 hours if you received a sedative.
  • Keep all follow-up visits as told by your health care provider. This is important.

Contact a health care provider if:

  • You have a sore throat that lasts longer than one day.
  • You have trouble swallowing.

Get help right away if:

  • You have a fever.
  • You vomit blood or your vomit looks like coffee grounds.
  • You have bloody, black, or tarry stools.
  • You have a severe sore throat or you cannot swallow.
  • You have difficulty breathing.
  • You have severe pain in your chest or belly.
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