What is an upper endoscopy?
An upper GI endoscopy, sometimes called EGD (esophagogastroduodenoscopy), is performed primarily to identify and/or correct a problem in the upper gastrointestinal tract. Upper GI endoscopy is a visual examination of the upper intestinal tract using a lighted, flexible fiber optic or video endoscope. The upper gastrointestinal tract begins with the mouth and continues with the esophagus which carries food to the stomach.
What does the exam involve?
Upper GI endoscopy is usually performed on an outpatient basis. The throat is often anesthetized by a spray or liquid. IV sedation is given to help you relax and make you feel sleepy. The endoscope is then gently inserted into the upper esophagus. You will be able to breathe easily throughout the exam. A polyp or tumor can be removed using a thin wire snare and using electrical heat. Biopsies may also be taken to be sent for microscopic analysis. The exam takes 15-30 minutes, after which you will be taken to the recovery area.
Who should have an upper endoscopy?
Due to factors related to diet, environment and heredity, the upper GI tract is the site of numerous disorders. These can develop into a variety of diseases and/or symptoms. Upper GI endoscopy helps in diagnosing and often in treating these conditions:
ulcers—which can develop in the esophagus, stomach, or duodenum (part of the small intestine); occasionally ulcers can be malignant
tumors of the stomach or esophagus
difficulty in swallowing
upper abdominal pain or indigestion
intestinal bleeding—hidden or massive bleeding can occur for various reasons
esophagitis or heartburn—chronic inflammation of the esophagus due to the reflux of stomach acid and digestive juices
gastritis—inflammation of the lining of the stomach