What It Is:
In an upper endoscopy, the doctor inserts a thin, flexible, lighted tube to see inside the esophagus
(first section of the small intestine). It may be used to find the source of nausea, vomiting, reflux
, bleeding, indigestion, abdominal pain, chest pain or swallowing difficulties. An upper endoscopy may also be called EGD, short for esophagogastroduodenoscopy (eh-SAH-fuh-goh-GAS-troh-doo-AH-duh- NAH-skuh-pee).
What It's Used For:
An upper endoscopy can help a doctor see problems such as ulcers that may not show up on an x-ray. Biopsies
can also be taken during the test for analysis in a laboratory. The endoscope sends an image of the inside of the esophagus, stomach, and duodenum to a television screen, so the doctor can see the inside lining of these organs.
You will not be allowed to eat or drink for at least 6 hours before the procedure, as the stomach and duodenum must be empty for the test. You must arrange for a friend or family member to take you home, as you will not be allowed to drive after the test due to the sedatives. Follow any other instructions given by your doctor carefully.
How It's Done:
The doctor will spray a numbing agent in your throat that may help stop gagging. You may also be given a sedative to help you relax, and some pain medicine for any discomfort. You will swallow an endoscope -- a thin, flexible, lighted tube. Air is gently pumped into the stomach to expand the folds of tissue and make it easier for the doctor to see the stomach. The entire procedure can last 20 to 30 minutes. If you are sedated, you will need to rest until the sedative wears off and you may need to have someone take you home.
Rare complications of this test are bleeding and puncture of the stomach lining. It is common to have a sore throat after the procedure.