AMITA Health Endoscopy Center Lincoln Park

Upper Endoscopy (EGD)

Overview

An upper endoscopy is a procedure performed by a gastroenterologist to visually inspect the upper portion of your digestive system for abnormalities. The procedure is also called an esophagogastroduodenoscopy or EGD. This longer name describes the sections of your digestive tract that will be examined – the esophagus (the muscular tube that connects your mouth to your stomach), the stomach (“gastro”) and the beginning of the small intestine (duodenum).

The EGD is used to determine the cause of various digestive symptoms and diseases such as heartburn, nausea and vomiting, hiatal hernias, upper abdominal pain, Barrett’s esophagus, swallowing difficulties and unexplained anemia. The procedure can also help determine the cause of upper GI bleeding and the presence of ulcers or tumors of the upper digestive system.

An EGD is performed with an endoscope, which is a long, flexible tube with a light and camera on the end. Special tools can also be passed through the tube to remove foreign objects or polyps, or to burn a blood vessel to stop bleeding.

Preparation

Fasting before the procedure. Follow your physician’s specific instructions, but most doctors want you to fast for 4-8 hours before the procedure to make sure your stomach is empty.

Medications. Remind your physician of your medications, supplements and vitamins at least a week before the colonoscopy. You may be instructed to adjust or temporarily stop your medications, especially blood thinners such as aspirin, warfarin (Coumadin), dabigatran (Pradaxa), rivaroxaban (Xarelto) or clopidogrel (Plavix). Also, certain supplements or vitamins may need to be temporarily stopped, check with your provider.

What happens during the procedure?

You will lie on your side or back and probably receive intravenous (IV) sedation. The gastroenterologist may also spray an anesthetic in your mouth. A plastic mouthguard will be placed in your mouth to protect the endoscope and your teeth. Then the endoscope will be placed in your mouth, and you may be asked to swallow. You will feel pressure but not pain.

Gentle air pressure may be fed through the endoscopy to slightly inflate your digestive tract for better visualization of the lining tissues. You may feel a little fullness or pressure from the air. The physician will then visually inspect the lining of your upper digestive tract with the camera. A tissue sample (biopsy) may need to be taken or a polyp may be removed through the scope. When finished, the doctor will slowly remove the endoscope. The procedure takes anywhere from 10-30 minutes depending on the purpose of the examination.

What happens after the procedure?

You will be moved to a recovery area when the doctor has completed the EGD. It will usually take 30-60 minutes to recover from the sedation. You may have mild bloating and gas, cramping and a sore throat. You will need someone to drive you home due to the sedation. You should be able to resume normal activity the next day, but it can take up to 24 hours for the full effects of the sedation to wear off. Please ask your doctor about resuming any medications that were stopped before the procedure and when you may do so. If you have any of the symptoms above and they do not improve with time or worsen, call your doctor. Also call your doctor if you have a fever of 100 degrees Fahrenheit or higher, or you are experiencing persistent pain.

Outcomes

Receiving the results of your EGD depends upon your unique situation. If the doctor was looking for an ulcer, you may know before leaving the surgery center. If a biopsy was done, it may take a few days to get the results from the pathologist. Be sure to ask your provider when you can expect to hear your results.