An upper endoscopy exam, also known as esophagogastroduodenoscopy or EGD, is used to evaluate the inside of the upper digestive tract, which includes the esophagus, the stomach and the duodenum, or the first portion of the small intestine.
The Upper Endoscopy exam is used to detect the cause of certain symptoms such as:
- Chest pain
- Abdominal pain
- Problems swallowing
Upper Endoscopy is often useful in the detection and diagnosis of conditions within the digestive tract, such as tumors, ulcers or inflammation due to infection.
Preparing for Upper Endoscopy
The most important step in preparing for any type of procedure is discussing your prior medical conditions with your doctor. If you have or have had a lung or heart condition in the past, or are pregnant your doctor needs to be aware before beginning the Upper Endoscopy procedure. If you take medication daily, make sure to review these prescriptions with your doctor to ensure that you are safe to take them the day of your exam. If so, be sure to take your medication with as minimal amount of water possible, preferably just a small sip. Eight hours leading up to the procedure you will need to refrain from all food and beverage.
While you will be able to return home following your procedure, you will not be permitted to drive so it is important that you plan on having a friend or family member accompany you to your appointment.
What to expect during Upper Endoscopy
During the course of the procedure you will be asked to lie on your left side and you will receive a sedative via IV in addition to a local anesthetic on the back of your throat. A mouthpiece will be placed in your mouth to guard your teeth from coming into contact with the endoscope. Your physician will then insert the endoscope into your mouth and will guide the tool gently down your throat and into your esophagus before it finally reaches your stomach. The entire exam takes between 15 and 30 minutes.
Upper Endoscopy is a useful examination in the determination and diagnosis of abnormalities in the upper digestive tract. During the exam, your physician may diagnose or even treat certain conditions, including:
- Polyps, which are growths of tissue that appear in the stomach. Polyps can be both identified and removed with the use of an endoscope.
- Biopsies, which are small samples of tissue used to determine the presence of disease such as cancer can be taken at this time.
- Stricture or blockage in the esophagus, duodenum or stomach can be dilated or stretched during Upper Endoscopy.
- Any foreign object, such as food that became stuck in the esophagus can be removed with the use of the endoscope.
- Ulcers or tumors that may have caused bleeding can be treated at this time.