Esophagogastroduodenoscopy Upper Endoscopy (EGD)

What is EGD?

A flexible, lighted tube is passed through the mouth and into the esophagus (swallowing tube) and stomach. This tube is smaller than most of the food you swallow.

This examination of the upper digestive tract can detect/confirm abnormalities that may have been seen with previous x-ray examinations. A tiny sample of tissue (biopsy) can be taken for examination in the laboratory, if indicated. Biopsies are taken for many reasons and do not necessarily imply cancer. Other instruments can also be passed through the endoscope without causing discomfort.

Why is EGD necessary?

Many problems of the upper digestive tract cannot be diagnosed by x-ray. EGD may be helpful in the diagnosis of inflammation of the esophagus, stomach, and duodenum, and to identify the site of upper digestive tract bleeding. Safe and effective endoscopic control of bleeding can reduce the need for transfusion and surgery. EGD is more accurate than x-ray in detecting gastric (stomach) and duodenal ulcers, especially when there is bleeding or scarring from a previous ulcer. EGD may detect early cancers too small to be seen by x-ray and can confirm the diagnosis by biopsies and brushings.

EGD may also be used to stretch strictures (narrowed) areas in the esophagus that make swallowing difficult. Polyps and swallowed objects can be removed.

What preparation is required?

The best possible examination requires the stomach to be completely empty. Do not eat or drink anything after the midnight before the examination. Alert your physician to any drug allergies.

What should you expect during the procedure?

After you are admitted you will be asked to change into a patient gown. You will be given a consent form to sign and a nurse will be available to discuss any questions or concerns.

Your throat will be sprayed with a local anesthetic and medication will be given through a vein, which will make you sleepy. It is likely you won't remember the examination at all.

The procedure is extremely well tolerated and the tube will not interfere with your breathing. You will lie comfortably on your left side for the EGD, which takes approximately five minutes to perform.

What happens after the EGD?

You will remain at the out-patient area until most of the effects of the sedation have worn off. Rarely, a mild sore throat may be experienced. You should be able to resume your normal diet approximately two hours after the EGD unless otherwise instructed.

Due to the sedation, you will not be allowed to drive home following the procedure. You will need to arrange for a companion to drive you home, and who will remain in the building while you are here. Even though you may not feel tired, your judgment and reflexes may not be normal. You may not drive for the rest of the day nor return to work.

Are there any possible complications from EGD?

EGD is safe and is associated with very low risk when performed by physicians who have been specially trained and are experienced in this endoscopic procedure.

Complications are rare but can occur. A rare complication is perforation (a tear through the wall of the esophagus or stomach). This complication would probably require surgery to close the tear.

Bleeding may occur from the site of biopsy or polyp removal. It is usually minimal but rarely requires transfusion or surgery.

EDG is extremely worthwhile and safe and is well tolerated. It is invaluable in the diagnosis and proper management of disorders of the upper digestive tract. The decision to perform this procedure was based upon assessment of your particular problem.

If you have further questions or concerns, your doctor and/or his staff will be happy to discuss them with you.


IMPORTANT REMINDER: This information is intended only to provide general guidance. It does not provide definitive medical advice. It is very important that you consult your doctor about your specific condition.