Watch this video to learn how EDG is done:
WHAT IS AN UPPER GI ENDOSCOPY (EGD)?
Upper GI endoscopy, or esophagogastroduodenoscopy (EGD), is a visual examination of the lining of your esophagus, stomach, and the first portion of the small intestine. During the test, an endoscope, which is a long, flexible instrument that has a light and a camera at the tip, will be passed through the mouth. The doctor will view the endoscopy on a television screen and look for any abnormalities that may be present.
Upper GI endoscopy is usually performed to evaluate and treat ulcers in the stomach and intestine, tumors of the esophagus and stomach, difficulty swallowing, upper abdominal pain or indigestion, and intestinal bleeding. If necessary, biopsies (tiny tissue samples) may be taken painlessly during the examination and sent for laboratory analysis. Polyps (abnormal growths of tissue) may be removed and bleeding areas may be identified and treated.
PREPARING FOR AN UPPER GI ENDOSCOPY (EGD)
There are important steps you must take to safely get ready for your upper GI endoscopy. These are general instructions. Be sure to follow any instructions given to you by your doctor.
Your doctor or nurse will review the steps with you and make sure that you know how you need to get ready and what you can expect during and after the test. If you have any questions, be sure to bring them up with the doctor or nurse.
- The list should include both prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) drugs, like aspirin, NSAIDs or vitamins or supplements.
- Ask your doctor before the test if any of your medications should be taken on the day of your upper GI endoscopy.
- Ask your doctor before the test if any of your medications should not be taken before your upper GI endoscopy.
- Ask your doctor before the test if you should take your medications the night before your upper GI endoscopy.
Tell your doctor if you:
- Have diabetes and what medications you are on for it.
- Are taking blood thinners or have bleeding or blood-clotting problems.
- Have a pacemaker or other implanted electromedical devices.
- Have had stomach or bowel surgery, swallowing problems, or other gastrointestinal (GI) problems.
- Have heart, lung, or any other health problems that may need special care before the test.
- Do not eat or drink at all in the 10 hours before your endoscopy. Having anything in your stomach could offset the test. If you do not remember the time of your appointment, call your doctor.
- If your doctor plans to give you medicine to block pain and make you feel sleepy, you will not be allowed to drive a car, work, or make important decisions after the test. You must have someone with you to review the discharge instructions and to drive you home after the test.
- Plan to rest at home for the rest of the day after your test.
- An upper GI endoscopy can be done as an outpatient procedure in your doctor’s office, outpatient surgical center, or hospital. Be sure you know exactly where you need to go the day of your procedure, as it may not be the same as your doctor’s office.
- Be sure to ask your doctor or nurse if there is anything you do not understand.
Food and Drink
- In order for your doctor to perform an adequate and safe examination, the upper gastrointestinal tract must be clear. Therefore, please do not eat or drink anything eight (8) hours prior to your examination on the day of your procedure.
Please bring a list of your current medications with you on the day of the procedure.
Continue to take your medications as usual, even on the day of your examination, unless instructed otherwise by your doctor. Medicines taken on the day of the examination should be taken with a small sip of water. If you are a diabetic, please consult with your physician prior to the examination of your medication schedule. You may continue to take aspirin prior to your procedure unless instructed otherwise.
If you take medications to thin your blood or antiplatelet medications such as Coumadin (warfarin), Lovenox (heparin), Plavix (clopidogrel), Pradaxa (dabigatran), Eliquis (apixaban), Effient (prasugrel), Xarelto (rivaroxaban), or Savaysa (edoxaban), please contact your physician or health care provider for further instructions.
You should inform your doctor if you:
Have allergies or reactions to medications
Usually take antibiotics for dental procedures
Are taking aspirin, arthritis medicines, or blood thinners
Have a blood disorder where you bleed easily
Think you may be pregnant
- Dress comfortably in clothing that can be folded. Please do not bring jewelry or other valuables with you.
- By New York State regulations, a companion (adult 18 years or older) must be available to accompany you home after the procedure, since the sedation you receive may impair your reflexes and judgment. Your procedure will be canceled if a companion is not available.
At the beginning of your appointment, you will be brought into an assessment area, where the doctor and/or nurse will explain the procedure and answer your questions. At that time, you’ll be asked to sign a consent form giving your permission to have the procedure performed. You will also meet with an anesthesiologist who will be responsible for sedating you during your procedure and watching your breathing and heart rate. You will be asked to change into a hospital gown and remove your eyeglasses and contact lenses.
You will then be taken to a procedure room, where you will be asked to lie on your left side in a comfortable position and will be given medication through an injection into a vein to make you sleepy and relaxed. You also may receive a topical anesthetic to numb your throat.
The doctor will then pass the endoscope through the mouth and into the esophagus, stomach, and intestine. The endoscope will not interfere with your breathing.
The examination generally takes 15 to 30 minutes. Depending on what your doctor sees, he or she also may obtain a biopsy or remove polyps. Removed tissue and polyps are sent to the laboratory for analysis. These additional steps do not usually cause discomfort.
After the upper GI endoscopy, you will remain in the recovery area for about 30 minutes until the effects of the sedating medication wear off. You may experience some bloating due to air that was added through the endoscope during the examination; this air will quickly pass.
If you received a topical anesthetic for your throat, you may not eat or drink anything for one hour after the test, until your swallowing mechanism has returned to normal.
Before you are discharged, your physician will discuss the examination results and follow-up plans, and you will be given discharge instruction information.
A companion must be available to accompany you home from the procedure, since the sedation may impair your reflexes and judgment. For the remainder of the day, you should not drive a car, operate machinery, or make important decisions.
RISKS OF UPPER GI ENDOSCOPY
Upper GI endoscopy is a rather common examination that is usually performed on an outpatient basis. Complications are rare (less than one in 1,000 examinations).
However, complications such as reactions to medication, perforation (tearing) of the esophagus, stomach and intestine, as well as bleeding, may occur; these may necessitate urgent treatment or surgery.
Inform your doctor immediately if you have any severe pain, black tarry stools, persistent vomiting, or fever/chills in the hours or days following upper GI endoscopy.