Upper GI Endoscopy
(Upper Gastrointestinal Endoscopy; Esophagogastroduodenoscopy [EGD])
by Rosalyn Carson-DeWitt, MD
Click here to view an animated version of this test.
This is a test that uses a fiberoptic scope to examine the esophagus (throat), stomach, and upper part of the small intestines.
Reasons for Test TOP
Upper GI endoscopy may be recommended if you have:
Conditions that can be diagnosed with upper GI endoscopy include:
Possible Complications TOP
Complications are rare, but no procedure is completely free of risk. If you are planning to have upper GI endoscopy, your doctor will review a list of possible complications, which may include:
Some factors that may increase the risk of complications include:
Be sure to discuss these risks with your doctor before the test.
What to Expect TOP
Prior to test
Leading up to the test:
Description of the Test
To numb your throat, you may be given an anesthetic solution to gargle. Or, your throat may be sprayed with a numbing medicine. You may be given a sedative through an IV. This is to help you relax during the test.
You may be asked to lie on your left side. You will have monitors tracking your breathing, heart rate, and blood oxygen levels. If sedation is used, you will be given supplemental oxygen to breathe through your nose.
A mouthpiece will be positioned to help keep your mouth open. During the test, a small suction tube will be used to clear saliva and fluids from your mouth. The endoscope will be lubricated and placed in your mouth. You will be asked to try to swallow it. Then, it will be carefully and slowly advanced down your throat. It will be passed through your esophagus and into your stomach and intestine.
While the endoscope is being advanced, your doctor will view the images on the screen. Air may be passed through the endoscope into your digestive tract. This will be done to smooth the normal folds in the tissues, allowing your doctor to view the tissue more easily. Tiny tools may be passed through the endoscope in order to take biopsies or do other tests.
After the test, you will be observed for an hour. Then, you will be allowed to go home.
When you return home after the test, do the following to help ensure a smooth recovery:
How Long Will It Take?
About 10-15 minutes
Will It Hurt?
Yes, you will have discomfort during the test. Your throat will be sore. Also, you may feel bloated after the test.
This test gives your doctor information about the health of your digestive system. The results can help to explain your symptoms. You and your doctor will talk about the results and your treatment plan.
Call Your Doctor TOP
After the test, call your doctor if any of the following occur:
In case of an emergency, call for medical help right away.
The American Gastroenterological Association
American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy
Canadian Digestive Health Foundation
Davila M, Keeffe E. Complications of Upper Endoscopy. In: Feldman M, Friedman L, Sleisenger M. Sleisenger & Fordtran's Gastrointestinal and Liver Disease. 7th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Saunders; 2002:539-543.
Endoscopy. Mayo Clinic website. Available at: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/endoscopy/MY00138. Updated July 2008. Accessed July 27, 2009.
Pasricha PJ. Gastrointestinal Endoscopy. Cecil Textbook of Medicine. 21st ed. Philadelphia, PA: WB Saunders Company; 2000: 649-653.
Understanding upper endoscopy. American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy website. Available at: http://www.asge.or.... Accessed July 27, 2009.
What is upper GI endoscopy? The American Gastroenterological Association website. Available at: http://www.gastro.org/wmspage.cfm?parm1=5388. Accessed July 27, 2009.
Your upper GI. Emory University School of Medicine website. Available at: http://medicine.em.... Updated May 2004. Accessed July 27, 2009.
Last reviewed September 2012 by Daus Mahnke, MD
Last Updated: 09/26/2012