Upper Endoscopy (EGD)

Upper endoscopy is a test that looks inside the upper gastrointestinal, or GI, tract. The GI tract includes the esophagus, stomach, and the duodenum, which is the first part of the small intestine.

The test is also known as esophagogastroduodenoscopy [eh-SAH-fuh-goh-GAS-troh doo-AH-duh-NAH-skuh-pee], or EGD.

It's done using a tool called an endoscope, which is a long, thin, flexible tube that has a light and a tiny camera.

The test helps find problems such as ulcers, infection, or growths.
It can show the causes of swallowing problems, nausea and vomiting, acid reflux, bleeding, and abdominal pain.

Before the Procedure

Before the procedure, you may have a physical exam, blood tests, or other kinds of tests.

You'll be asked to not eat or drink for at least eight hours before the procedure.

Tell your health care provider all medications and supplements you take, if you have any allergies, and if you're pregnant or might be pregnant.

Your health care provider will explain what happens during the procedure. He or she will also talk with you about any risks or complications that may happen.

You'll be asked to sign a consent form that gives your health care provider permission to do the procedure. Read the form carefully and ask questions if anything is not clear.

What to Expect

An upper endoscopy takes about twenty to thirty minutes. When it's time for your test, you may be given medication to help you relax or sleep. This is called sedation. This medication is usually given through an IV line put in a vein in your arm or hand. Your throat may be numbed with a spray or liquid, and you'll be given a small plastic guard to protect your teeth.

During the test, you lie on your left side. The endoscope is placed in your mouth, and moved down your throat.

Air is used to expand the GI tract so your provider can see the lining more clearly. You may feel some pressure or discomfort from the air.
The scope sends pictures of the GI tract to a video screen. Your provider looks at your esophagus, stomach, and duodenum for problems such as bleeding, inflammation, or growths.

Using tools inserted through channels in the endoscope, he or she can take small samples of tissue to send to a lab. This is called a biopsy. In some cases, your provider will remove small growths.

The endoscope is then removed.

After the Procedure

After the test, you'll need to rest for about an hour to let the sedation wear off. This kind of medication lasts for a while in the body, so you'll need a family member or friend to drive you home.  Plan to take it easy for the rest of the day.

If you had a biopsy, the results will be ready in about 7 days.

Things to Remember

EGD is a test that looks inside the upper gastrointestinal, or GI, tract for problems.
Small samples of tissue may be taken for testing.
You will need to have someone drive you home. You will not be allowed to drive because of sedation.

What We Have Learned

An upper endoscopy is done to look at the large intestine and colon. True or false? The answer is false. Upper endoscopy looks inside the esophagus, stomach, and the duodenum, which is the first part of the small intestine.

You can drive yourself home right after the test. True or false? The answer is false. Because sedation lasts for a while in the body, you'll need someone else to drive you home.