An EGD is an abbreviation for Esophagogastroduodenoscopy. It is also commonly referred to as an upper GI Endoscopy. GI is an abbreviation for gastrointestinal.
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This outpatient procedure can be done for diagnostic and/or treatment purposes. It can help your physician evaluate symptoms of persistent upper abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, difficulty swallowing (dysphagia), painful swallowing (odynophagia), heartburn, chronic acid reflux, unexplained anemia and upper GI bleeding.
An EGD can help your physician detect ulcers and tumors or the esophagus, stomach and duodenum. An EGD may be used to obtain a small sample of tissue to biopsy. Although many people associate biopsy with cancer, it can also be used to identify Helicobacter pylori, bacteria that cause ulcers. He or she may also perform a cytology test, utilizing a small brush inserted through the scope, to collect cells for analysis under a microscope.
An EGD can also be used to treat upper GI conditions such as removing polyps or treating bleeding. This is done by passing an instrument through the endoscope. (Read more below, under What can I expect?)
This minimally invasive procedure enables your doctor to examine your upper digestive tract or perform specific procedures using an endoscope. This scope is a thin, flexible lighted tube with a tiny camera that displays the images on a nearby computer screen.
You may be given a light to moderate sedative to help you relax and minimize awareness of any slight discomfort. Your doctor will also probably spray the back of your throat with a local anesthetic. A mouth guard is placed between your teeth to prevent biting the endoscope. If you wear dentures, you be asked to remove them.
If your physician notices something for further evaluation, he or she will insert an instrument through the endoscope to remove a polyp or obtain a sample so a biopsy can be performed. This tissue will be analyzed under a microscope. This is done even if cancer isn’t suspected and typically doesn’t cause any pain.
After the procedure, your physician will provide you with an overview of the examination, although any biopsy results won’t be available for about one week.
It’s important to have an empty stomach for the procedure. You will be asked to have nothing to eat or drink – even water – for approximately 6 hours prior to the EGD. If you normally require antibiotics for dental procedures, please inform us ahead of time because you may need them for this also. Let us know if you are pregnant or suspect you may be pregnant.
You should tell your physician about any medications you take, including prescriptions, over-the-counter pills and herbal supplements. He or she will let you know if you should continue to take them or modify the dosage. It is especially important to mention any blood thinners (anticoagulants), aspirin, arthritis or iron products, diabetic medications or any drugs prescribed because you have a cardiac stent or have had a stroke. Please speak up about any allergies you have to medications or medical conditions such as heart or lung disease.
The EGD lasts 5 to 20 minutes and you will be in the recovery room for approximately 30 minutes more. However, you should allow about two for the entire process of check-in, procedure, follow-up and discharge. Because of the sedation, you must have someone drive you home after the procedure. Even if you feel alert, your reflexes may be impaired for the rest of the day.
Complications are rare, but could include infection, bleeding or perforation (a small hole in the wall of the GI tract). Bleeding can occur at a biopsy site or where a polyp was removed, but it is usually minimal without need for follow-up. Some patients may have a reaction to the sedatives or complications related to heart or lung disease.
If you have trouble swallowing, notice a fever, or have increasing throat, chest or abdominal pain, please call our office right away.