What is an Upper Endoscopy?
An upper endoscopy allows us to examine the lining of the upper part of your gastrointestinal tract, which includes the esophagus, stomach, and duodenum (the first portion of the small intestine). During evaluation, a flexible tube called an endoscope, which has its own lenses and light source, is inserted through your mouth into the esophagus, stomach, and duodenum. Images will be transferred to a video monitor. You may hear Dr. Klin, or other medical staff, refer to an upper endoscopy as an upper GI endoscopy, as an esophagogastroduodenoscopy (EGD), or panendoscopy.
Why is an Upper Endoscopy done?
An upper endoscopy helps to evaluate symptoms of persistent upper abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, or difficulty swallowing. It is the best test for finding the cause of bleeding from the upper intestinal tract. It is also more accurate than x-ray films for detecting inflammation, ulcers and tumors of the esophagus, stomach, and duodenum.
During an upper endoscopy, biopsies (small tissue samples) are usually obtained. A biopsy helps to distinguish between benign and malignant tissues. Remember, biopsies are taken for many reasons, and it may be taken even if cancer is not suspected; for example, a biopsy to test for helicobacter pylori, the bacteria that causes ulcers.
Another test that may be performed during an upper endoscopy is a cytology test where a small brush will be introduced to collect cells for analysis.
Also, an upper endoscopy is used to treat conditions for the upper gastrointestinal tract. Other instruments can be passed through the endoscope to directly treat many conditions with no discomfort. For example, Dr. Klin may stretch a narrowed area, remove polyps (growths), treat bleeding, or treat Barrett’s Esophagus.
How should I prepare for the procedure?
An empty stomach allows for the best and safest examination, so you should have nothing to eat or drink, including water, for approximately six (6) hours before the examination. You will be told when to start fasting. Tell us, in advance, about any medications you take, because you might need to adjust your usual dose for the examination. Discuss any allergies you may have to medications, as well as inform us of any medical conditions, such as heart or lung disease.
What can I expect during an Upper Endoscopy?
For an upper endoscopy, you will be sedated, so the procedure is painless. You will lie on your side and the endoscope will be passed through your mouth into the esophagus, stomach, and duodenum. The endoscope does not interfere with your breathing.
What happens after an Upper Endoscopy?
The procedure is usually well tolerated. Sometimes your throat may be a little sore and you might feel bloated, because of air introduced into your stomach during the test. You will be able to eat after you leave the facility, unless you receive different instructions. You should arrange for someone to accompany you home, because the sedative may affect your judgment and reflexes for the rest of the day. Dr. Klin will discuss the findings and significant details with you.
What are the possible complications of an Upper Endoscopy?
Complications are rare if they are performed by a trained gastroenterologist. Bleeding can occur at a biopsy site, or where a polyp was removed, but it is usually minimal and rarely requires follow up. Other potential risks include a reaction to the sedative used, complications from heart or lung disease, and perforation (a tear in the gastrointestinal tract lining). It is important to recognize the early signs of possible complications. If you have a fever after the test, trouble swallowing, or increased throat, chest, or abdominal pain, you should contact your physician immediately.
Source: AMA Complete Encyclopedia, Copyright 2003, American Medical Association
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