Upper endoscopy (also known as an upper GI endoscopy, esophagogastroduodenoscopy, EGD, or panendoscopy) is a procedure that enables your physician to examine the lining of the upper part of your gastrointestinal tract, i.e. the esophagus (swallowing tube), stomach, and duodenum (first portion of the small intestine) using a thin flexible tube with its own lens and light source.
Below are some answers to the most frequently asked questions about this procedure.
Why is Upper Endoscopy done?
Upper endoscopy is usually performed to evaluate symptoms of persistent upper abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, or difficulty swallowing. It is also the best test for finding the cause of bleeding from the upper gastrointestinal tract. Upper endoscopy is more accurate than X-rays for detecting inflammation, ulcers, or tumors of the esophagus, stomach, and duodenum. This is particularly true when there has been a major operation on the upper gastrointestinal tract. Upper endoscopy can detect early cancer and can distinguish between benign and malignant (cancer) conditions by performing biopsies (taking small tissue samples) of suspicious areas. Biopsies are taken for many reasons and do not necessarily mean that cancer is suspected.
Upper endoscopy is also used to treat conditions present in the upper gastrointestinal tract. A variety of instruments can be passed through the endoscope that allow many abnormalities to be treated directly with little or no discomfort; for example, stretching narrowed areas, removing polyps (usually benign growths) or swallowed objects; or treating upper gastrointestinal bleeding. Safe and effective endoscopic control of bleeding has reduced the need for transfusions and surgery in many patients.
What preparation is required?
For the best (and safest) examination, the stomach must be completely empty. You should have nothing to eat or drink, including water, for approximately 6 hours before the examination. Your doctor will be more specific about the time to begin fasting, depending on the time of day that your test is scheduled.
There may be a need for possible medication adjustments.
Before the test, be sure to discuss with the doctor whether you should adjust any of your usual medications before the procedure, any drug allergies you may have and whether you have any other major diseases such as a heart or lung condition that might require special attention during the procedure.
Make arrangements to get home after the test. If you are sedated, you will need to arrange to have someone accompany you home from the examination because sedatives may affect your judgment and reflexes for the rest of the day. If you received sedation, you will not be allowed to drive after the procedure even though you may not feel tired.
What can be expected during the Upper Endoscopy?
Your doctor will review with you why upper endoscopy is being performed, whether any alternative tests are available, and possible complications from the procedure. Medication will be given through a vein to help you relax during the test. While you are in a comfortable position on your side, the endoscope is passed through the mouth and then in turn through the esophagus, stomach, and duodenum. The endoscope does not interfere with your breathing during the test. Most patients fall asleep during the procedure.
What happens after Upper Endoscopy?
After the test, you will be monitored in the endoscopy area until most of the effects of the medication have worn off. Your throat may be a little sore for a while, and you may feel bloated right after the procedure because of the air introduced into your stomach during the test. You will be able to resume your diet after you leave the procedure unless you are instructed otherwise.
In most circumstances your doctor can inform you of your test results on the day of the procedure; however, the results of any biopsies or cytology samples taken will take several days.
What are possible complications of Upper Endoscopy?
Endoscopy is safe. Complications can occur, but are rare when the test is performed by physicians with specialized training and experience in this procedure. Bleeding may occur from a biopsy site or where a polyp was removed. It is usually minimal and rarely requires blood transfusions or surgery. Localized irritation of the vein where the medication was injected may cause a tender lump lasting for several weeks, but this will go away eventually. Applying heat packs or hot moist towels may help relieve discomfort. Other potential risks include a reaction to the sedatives used and complications from heart or lung diseases. Major complications, e.g. perforation (a tear that might require surgery for repair) are very uncommon; they occur less often than once in 10,000 tests
It is important for you to recognize early signs of any possible complication. If you begin to run a fever after the test, begin to have trouble swallowing, or have increasing throat, chest, or abdominal pain, let your doctor know about it promptly.
On the Day of Your Upper Endoscopy
Please arrive at your scheduled day and time to:
Central CT Endoscopy Center 440 New Britain Avenue
Plainville, CT 06062
Make sure someone is available to pick you up.
- No eating of solid foods after dinner the night before your test. You may drink clear liquids up to 2 hours before your test, then nothing by mouth.
- Please bring your prescription medications with you in their original containers.
Please leave all jewelry & valuables at home. If you have any questions or are unable to keep your scheduled appointment, please call (860) 224-6249.
Cancellations must be made 48 hours in advance.