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Understanding Upper GI Endoscopy

What is Upper Endoscopy?
Upper Endoscopy (EGD) is a procedure that enables your physician to examine the lining of the upper part of your gastrointestinal tract i.e. the esophagus (swallowing tube), stomach, and duodenum (first portion of the small intestine) using a thin flexible tube with its own lens and light source.

Why do I need Upper Endoscopy?
Upper Endoscopy is usually performed to evaluate symptoms of persistent upper abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, or difficulty swallowing. It is also the best test for finding the cause of bleeding from the upper gastrointestinal tract. This procedure can detect early cancer and can distinguish between benign and malignant (cancerous) conditions when small samples of tissue of suspicious areas are obtained.

Possible medication adjustments

Be sure to discuss with your doctor before the examination whether you should adjust any of your usual medications before the procedure. Any drug allergies you may have, and whether you have any other major diseases such as heart or lung condition that may require special attention during the procedure. You should also alert your doctor if you require antibiotics prior to undergoing dental procedures.

What kind of preparation is required?
For optimal results and patient safety. The procedure requires nothing by mouth (NPO) status at least 6 hours before the examination, including water. Ask your doctor about the preparation process for more information.

Arrangements to get home after the procedure

All Upper Endoscopy procedure performed at GEC will require sedation. This means you will need a responsible person to sign you out as well as to accompany you home after the procedure. Sedatives from procedure can impair judgement, therefore it is vital for patients to refrain from driving, operate heavy machinery, and sign documents within 24 hours of procedure discharge.

What can be expected during the Upper Endoscopy procedure?
You will be placed in a comfortable position on your side in the procedure room. Upper Endoscopy procedure will begin once you have been sedated by one of our CRNA or anesthesiologist. An endoscope is passed through the mouth and then into the esophagus, stomach, and duodenum. The endoscope does not interfere with your breathing during the test. The procedure typically takes 15 minutes, but this time may vary depending on the amount of biopsy your doctor needs to collect. Ask your doctor or anesthesiologist about your upcoming procedure and its associated risks and complications that may occur.

What happens after Upper Endoscopy?
After the test, you will be monitored in the Post Anesthesia Care Unit (PACU) by our nursing staff until most of the effects from the sedatives wear off. It is possible that you may experience a sore throat or bloating immediately after the procedure. You will be able to resume your diet after you leave the procedure area unless instructed otherwise by your physician. In most instances, your doctor will inform you of your test results before you leave our facility; however, the results of any biopsies or cytology samples will take several days to process and will require you to visit doctor’s office hour.

What are some possible complications?
Upper Endoscopy is generally safe. Complications can occur but are rare in practice. Bleeding can occur from a biopsy site or where a polyp was removed. These bleedings are usually minimal and rarely require a blood transfusion or surgery. Localized irritation of the vein where the Sedatives were injected may cause a tender lump lasting several weeks, but this will go away eventually. Applying heat packs or moist hot towels may help relieve discomfort. Other potential risks include a reaction to the sedatives used and complications from prior heart or lung diseases. Major complications, such as perforation (a tear that might require surgery for repair), are extremely rare. Ask your doctor about the risks and complications associated with Upper Endoscopy procedure.

Questions or concerns?

If you have any specific questions about your need for Upper Endoscopy procedure, possible alternatives, cost, billing methods, insurance coverage, or other inquiries, do not hesitate to contact your doctor’s office. Our gastroenterologists are highly trained specialists and welcome your questions. Alternatively, you may discuss your concerns with our nursing staff who will contact you before your scheduled procedure date.