Purpose: An upper GI endoscopy, or EGD, provides a visual inspection of the esophagus, stomach, and first part of the small intestine (duodenum). Changes to the lining of these organs (e.g. erosions or ulcers) and changes to the anatomy (e.g. hiatal hernia) can be evaluated with this test. Biopsies can be performed if needed, as well as stretching of the esophagus if it is narrowed. Endoscopy is important in the diagnosis of many upper intestinal disorders as well as in planning surgical treatment.
Description: The EGD procedure is performed in the GI lab, typically at Rocky Mountain Surgical Center in our office building. For this test you will be given intravenous sedation, and then Dr. Bell will pass a flexible, lighted camera through the mouth, down through the esophagus (swallowing tube), and into the stomach and duodenum. This is normally a quick and painless procedure lasting 15-20 minutes.
Risks: Having an endoscopy involves a small risk of complications including, but not limited to: sore throat, bleeding, or perforation (puncture) of the upper gastrointestinal tract. Because of the intravenous sedation, there is a risk of having problems with breathing, heart arrhythmias, and pneumonia.
Alternatives: TNE (TransNasal Endoscopy) is an alternative method of evaluating the esophagus and upper stomach that does not require sedation – enabling patients to drive and return to normal activities immediately after the procedure.
Preparation: Because of the sedation employed for an endoscopy, you may not eat or drink after midnight the night before a morning endoscopy. Morning medications may be taken with a sip of water 2 hr before the procedure; or bring with you to take after. If your upper GI endoscopy is in the afternoon, you may not eat or drink anything for 8 hours prior to the procedure. Any break from this regimen will likely lead to the procedure being rescheduled for another day.
Because of the sedation you receive, you will need a driver to take you home, and you will need to have a follow up appointment to discuss the findings of the endoscopy.
Special considerations: If you are on blood thinners please let us know. Depending on the kind of endoscopy, you may need to stop these prior to the procedure. If you are on chronic pain medication or antianxiety medication, or have required general anesthesia for prior endoscopies, we may need to arrange for an anesthesiologist to be present during the procedure.