An esophagogastroduodenoscopy, also known as an EGD or upper endoscopy, is a diagnostic procedure that examines and treats certain conditions of the upper gastrointestinal tract, which includes the esophagus, stomach and upper part of the small intestine, with an endoscope. An EGD is able to aid in the diagnosis of conditions affecting the upper digestive tract issues, including nausea, vomiting, heartburn, abdominal pain and ulcers. During the EGD procedure, tissue samples can be obtained for biopsy, objects can be removed and therapeutic procedures may be performed.

Prior to the EGD, the doctor will need to be aware of any medical conditions the patient may have, including the following:

  • Pregnancy
  • Allergies to medication
  • Heart condition
  • Lung condition
  • Diabetes

The EGD Procedure

Patients with a weakened immune system may need to take antibiotics before the procedure. Four to eight hours before the EGD, patients are not allowed to eat, drink, smoke or chew gum, with the exception of medication, which can be taken with a small sip of water. Driving is not permitted up to 24 hours after the procedure and the patient will need to arrange for transportation home.

The EGD is performed either as an outpatient procedure at the hospital or at an outpatient clinic. After the EGD, the patient will be monitored in a recovery area for about half an hour. A sore throat is common right after an EGD, but it can be soothed with lozenges. With the doctor's approval, regular activities can usually be resumed the very next day.

Results are usually available after an EGD and will be discussed with the patient after the sedative has worn off. If a biopsy was performed during the procedure, the results will be available after the sample has been sent to a pathology lab for more detailed testing.

Risks and Complications of an EGD

While an EGD is a relatively safe procedure, there are certain risks associated with it. These may include the following:

  • Complications from the sedatives or medication administered during the procedure
  • Low blood pressure
  • Bleeding
  • Puncture of the gastrointestinal tract
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Blackened stools

Contact your doctor immediately if you experience any of these symptoms, as you may require medical attention.

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