Reasons for Exam
Due to factors related to diet, environment, heredity, and infection, the upper GI tract is the site of numerous disorders. Upper GI endoscopy helps in diagnosing, and often in treating, these conditions:
- Ulcers, which can develop in the esophagus, stomach or duodenum and occasionally 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 and heartburn, chronic inflammation of the esophagus due to a back up of stomach acid and digestive fluids.
- Gastritis, inflammation of the lining of the stomach.
Preparation for the Exam
It is important not to eat or drink anything for at least eight hours before the exam. Your physician will provide instructions about the use of regular medications, including blood thinners and high blood pressure medications, before the exam.
Who is a candidate for an EGD?
Do you have difficulty swallowing, pain in the upper abdomen, unexplained heartburn? If you answered yes to any of those symptoms, then you should schedule an EGD today!
What is an EGD?
An EGD is also called an upper endoscopy or an esophagogastroduodenoscopy. It is a procedure in which a doctor uses an endoscope—a flexible tube with a camera—to see the lining of your upper GI tract. A gastroenterologist, surgeon, or other trained health care professional performs the procedure, most often while you receive light sedation to help you relax. Upper GI endoscopy is usually performed as an outpatient procedure. Intravenous sedation is usually given to relax the patient, depress the gag reflex and even cause short-term amnesia. For some individuals who can relax on their own and whose gagging can be controlled, the exam is done without intravenous medications. For others, deep sedation, where the patient is completely asleep, is utilized. The endoscope is then gently inserted into the upper esophagus. You will be able to breathe easily throughout the exam. Other instruments can be passed through the scope to perform additional procedures if necessary. For example, a biopsy can be done to obtain a small tissue specimen for microscopic analysis. A polyp or tumor can be removed using a thin wire snare and electrocautery (electrical heat).
How is an EGD performed?
In an upper GI endoscopy, the doctor uses an endoscope (a flexible narrow camera) to see inside your upper GI tract. This procedure takes place at a the outpatient center.
An intravenous (IV) needle will be placed in your arm to provide a sedative. Sedatives help you stay relaxed and comfortable during the procedure. In some cases, the procedure can be performed without sedation. You will be given a liquid anesthetic to gargle or spray anesthetic on the back of your throat. The doctor carefully feeds the endoscope down your esophagus and into your stomach and duodenum. A small camera mounted on the endoscope sends a video image to a monitor, allowing close examination of the lining of your upper GI tract. The endoscope pumps air into your stomach and duodenum, making them easier to see.
The doctor may perform a biopsy with the endoscope by taking a small piece of tissue from the lining of your esophagus or stomach. You won’t feel the biopsy. A pathologist examines the tissue in a lab.
When will I get the results?
After the exam, the physician explains the results. If the effects of the sedatives are prolonged, the physician may suggest an appointment for a later date when the patient can fully understand and remember the results. If a biopsy has been performed or a polyp removed, the results will not be available for three to seven days.
What are the risks of an EGD?
This is a very safe procedure. There are no major risks or complications associated with this procedure. A temporary, mild sore throat sometimes occurs after the exam. Serious risks with upper GI endoscopy, however, are very uncommon. One such risk is excessive bleeding, especially with removal of a polyp. In extremely rare instances, a perforation, or tear, in the esophagus or intestinal wall can occur. These complications may require hospitalization and, rarely, surgery. Quite uncommonly, a diagnostic error or oversight may occur.
How do I prepare for and EGD?
As a precaution you should talk with your doctor about your medical history, including medical conditions and symptoms you have, allergies, and all prescribed and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and supplements you take.
What is the typical cost of treatment?
Cost will range between $1200-2500 depending on the need for additional testing during the procedure.
How long is the procedure?
An EGD often takes between 15 and 30 minutes.
What can I expect after an EGD?
You will most likely be groggy due to the sedative. A companion must accompany you to the examination. You will be given medications to sedate you during the procedure and you will need someone to take you home. Driving an automobile is not allowed after the procedure. Even though you may not feel tired, your judgment and reflexes may not be normal. (make sure you have someone with you!!!). You may experience a sore throat for 1 – 2 days