Upper endoscopy enables the physician to look inside the esophagus, stomach and duodenum (first part of the small intestine). The procedure might be used to discover the reason for swallowing difficulties, nausea, vomiting, reflux, bleeding, infection, tumors, indigestion, abdominal pain or chest pain. Upper endoscopy is also called EGD, which stands for esophagogastroduodenoscopy (eh-SAH-fuh-goh-GAS-troh-doo-AH-duh-NAH-skuh-pee).

Upper_4For the procedure you will swallow a thin, flexible, lighted tube called an endoscope (EN-doh-skope). You will receive pain medicine and a sedative to help you relax during the exam. The endoscope transmits an image of the inside of the esophagus, stomach and duodenum, so the physician can carefully examine the lining of these organs. The scope also blows air into the stomach; this expands the folds of tissue and makes it easier for the physician to examine the stomach.

The physician can see abnormalities through the endoscope, like inflammation or bleeding, that don't show up well on x-rays. The physician can also insert instruments into the scope to remove samples of tissue (biopsy) for further tests or to treat bleeding abnormalities.

Possible complications of upper endoscopy include bleeding, perforation, or mild sore throat. However, such complications are rare. The procedure takes 20 to 30 minutes. Because you will be sedated, you will need to rest at the endoscopy facility for 30 to 60 minutes, or until the medication wears off.

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Preparation

Your stomach and duodenum must be empty for the procedure to be thorough and safe, so you will not be able to eat or drink anything for at least 6 hours beforehand. Also, you must arrange for someone to take you home – you will not be allowed to drive because of the sedatives. Your physician may give you other special instructions.

For More Information

To learn more about this topic, visit:
American Gastroenterological Association (AGA)