Upper GI Endoscopy, also called EGD (esophagogastroduodenoscopy), is a visual examination of the upper intestinal tract using a lighted video endoscope. The upper gastrointestinal tract begins at the mouth and continues with the esophagus, stomach and then duodenum which is the first portion of the small intestine.
The only preparation for the examination is that the patient be fasting so that the stomach is empty. The endoscope is a small flexible video camera that is smaller than a piece of food that you would swallow. Before the examination you will receive an IV sedative which makes you sleepy enough that you will not feel anything during the examination or remember anything afterwards. There are generally no after-effects from the examination other than a small amount of gas. The endoscope will not interfere with your breathing and during the examination all of your vital signs and breathing will be monitored by the nursing staff. The procedure takes approximately 10-15 minutes and then there is a 30 minute recovery period afterward. The patient may then be discharged to home with a driver, as we cannot allow the patient to drive for 12 hours after being sedated.
The reasons for doing an EGD could be abdominal pain, heartburn, reflux or GI bleeding. Typical findings might include ulcers, gastritis, hiatal hernia, esophagitis or esophageal strictures. If a narrowing of the esophagus is found an esophageal dilatation may be performed at the time of the EGD. Biopsies or cultures may be taken at the time of the EGD if necessary – this is based on findings at the time of the examination.