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Upper Endoscopy

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Aug 31, 2022.

What do I need to know about an upper endoscopy?

An upper endoscopy is also called an upper gastrointestinal (GI) endoscopy, or an esophagogastroduodenoscopy (EGD). A scope (thin, flexible tube with a light and camera) is used to examine the walls of your upper digestive tract. The upper digestive tract includes the esophagus, stomach, and duodenum (first part of the small intestine). An upper endoscopy is used to look for problems, such as bleeding, polyps, ulcers, or infection.

Upper Endoscopy

How do I prepare for an upper endoscopy?

Your healthcare provider will talk to you about how to prepare for your procedure. You may be told not eat or drink anything except water for 6 to 12 hours before the procedure. Your provider will tell you which medicines to take or not take on the day of your procedure. Arrange to have someone drive you home.

What will happen during an upper endoscopy?

  • You will be given medicine through your IV to help you relax and make you drowsy. You will also be given medicine to numb your throat. You may need to wear a plastic mouthpiece to help hold your mouth open and protect your teeth and tongue. Your provider will gently insert the endoscope through your mouth and down into your throat. You may be asked to swallow to help move the scope. You may feel pressure in your throat, but you should not feel pain. The endoscope does not restrict your breathing.
  • Your provider will watch the scope on a monitor and take pictures with the scope. Your provider may gently inject air to make it easier to see your digestive tract clearly. Your provider may take tissue samples and send them to a lab for tests. Foreign objects, tumors, or polyps that may be blocking your digestive tract may be removed. Your provider may also insert tools with the scope to treat bleeding or place a stent (tube).

What should I expect after an upper endoscopy?

You may feel bloated, gassy, or have some abdominal discomfort. Your throat may be sore for 24 to 36 hours after the procedure. You may burp or pass gas from air that is still inside your body after your procedure. You may need to take short walks to help move the gas out. Eat small meals, if you feel bloated. Do not drive or make important decisions until the day after your procedure.

What are the risks of an upper endoscopy?

Your esophagus, stomach, or duodenum may be punctured or torn during the procedure. This is because of increased pressure as the scope and air are passing through. You may bleed more than expected or get an infection. You may have a slow or irregular heartbeat, or low blood pressure. This can cause sweating and fainting. Fluid may enter your lungs and you may have trouble breathing. These problems can be life-threatening.

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your healthcare providers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment. The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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Further information

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