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Upper GI endoscopy is a test that looks inside the upper gastrointestinal (GI) tract. This includes the esophagus, stomach, and duodenum (first part of the small intestine). The test is also known as esophagogastroduodenoscopy (EGD). It is done using a tool called an endoscope. This is a long, thin, flexible tube containing a small camera. The test helps find problems such as ulcers, infection, or growths. During the test, tissue samples (biopsies) are taken and studied for problems. This sheet tells you more about the procedure and what to expect.
Prepare as you have been told. Tell your doctor about all medications you take. This includes over-the-counter drugs. It also includes herbs and other supplements. You may need to stop taking some or all of them before the procedure. Also, follow any directions you’re given for not eating or drinking before the procedure.
The procedure takes about 20 minutes. You will go home the same day.
Before the procedure begins:
You may be given medication to help you relax or sleep (sedation). This is given through an IV (intravenous) line placed in a vein in your arm or hand. Your throat may be numbed with a spray or liquid. You will be given a small plastic guard to protect your teeth.
During the procedure:
You lie on your left side. The endoscope is placed in your mouth, and it moves down your throat.
Air is used to expand the GI tract so the lining can be seen more clearly. You may feel pressure or discomfort from the air.
The scope sends pictures of the GI tract to a TV screen. The esophagus, stomach, and duodenum are viewed.
Problems, such as bleeding, inflammation, or growths may be seen. Using tools inserted through the endoscope, small samples of tissue can be taken. In some cases, small growths can be removed.
The endoscope is then removed.
After the procedure: The doctor will talk with you afterward about the results. You’ll rest until you can go home. Have an adult family member or friend drive you. Rest for the remainder of the day. If you had a biopsy, the results will be ready in about 7 days.
You’ll likely feel drowsy after the test. A mild sore throat and mild gas and bloating are normal. Once home, follow any instructions you have been given. If you had sedation, do not drive, operate machinery, or make major decisions until the next day.
Fever of 100.4°F (38°C) or higher, or as directed by your healthcare provider
Severe abdominal pain that isn’t relieved by passing gas
Sore throat that doesn’t go away
Vomiting, especially with blood
Any other signs or symptoms indicated by your doctor
If you had a biopsy, the results will be ready in about 7 days. Your doctor will talk to you about any further testing or treatment that is needed.
Sore throat or hoarseness
Allergic reaction to the sedative or numbing medication
Bleeding during or after the procedure
Excessive bleeding from the biopsy site (if a biopsy is done)
A hole or tear (perforation) in the lining of the digestive tract
Inhaling food or fluid into the lungs
Irregular heartbeat or cardiac arrest in someone with heart or lung disease