(AKA EGD or Gastroscopy)
What is an EGD?
Upper GI endoscopy lets your doctor examine the lining of the upper part of your gastrointestinal tract, which includes the esophagus, stomach and duodenum (first portion of the small intestine). Your doctor will use a thin, flexible tube called an endoscope, which has its own lens and light source, and will view the images on a video monitor. This test may be performed to find and stop a source of gastrointestinal bleeding, to diagnose certain conditions of the upper GI tract, or to take samples biopsies of certain areas to rule out malignancies (cancers) and other growths.
How do I prepare for an EGD? Do I need to take a bowel prep?
You do not need to drink a bowel preparation solution for an EGD, this is prescribed to prepare for a colonoscopy. An empty stomach allows for the best and safest examination, so you should have nothing to eat after midnight the day before the exam, and may have water and other clear fluids up to three hours before the test. You should have nothing by mouth in the 3-4 hours before your procedure. See also: The day of...
Can I take my current medications?
Most medications can be continued as usual, but some medications can interfere with the safety of the exam, particularly blood thinning medications such as warfarin/coumadin, plavix, aspirin, Pradaxa an Xarelto. Make sure your surgeon knows if you are taking any of these medications and that you have received specific instructions about whether you should stop taking them.
What happens during an EGD?
Your doctor might start by spraying your throat with a local anesthetic or by giving you a sedative to help you relax. You'll then lie on your side, and your doctor will pass the endoscope through your mouth and into the esophagus, stomach and duodenum. The endoscope doesn't interfere with your breathing, Most patients consider the test only slightly uncomfortable, and many patients fall asleep during the procedure.
What happens after?
You will be monitored until most of the effects of the medication have worn off. Your throat might be a little sore, and you might feel bloated because of the air introduced into your stomach during the test. You will be able to eat after you leave unless your doctor instructs you otherwise.
Your physician will explain the results of the examination to you, although you'll probably have to wait for the results of any biopsies performed.
Since you will have received sedatives during the procedure, someone must drive you home and stay with you. Even if you feel alert after the procedure, your judgement and reflexes could be impaired for the rest of the day. See also: The day of...
What are the possible complications of upper endoscopy?
Although complications can occur, they are rare when doctors who are specially trained and experienced in this procedure perform the test. Bleeding can occur at a biopsy site or where a polyp was removed, but it's usually minimal and rarely requires follow-up. Perforation (a hole or tear in the gastrointestinal tract lining) may require surgery but this is a very uncommon complication. Some patients might have a reaction to the sedatives or complications from heart or lung disease.
Although complications after upper endoscopy are very uncommon, it's important to recognize early signs of possible complications. Contact your doctor immediately if you have a fever after the test or if you notice trouble swallowing or increasing throat, chest or abdominal pain, or bleeding, including black stools. Note that bleeding can occur several days after the procedure.
If you have any concerns about a possible complication, it is always best to contact your doctor right away.