Upper GI Endoscopy (EGD)

Upper Gastrointestinal (GI) Endoscopy is also called as EGD (esophagogastroduodenoscopy), a process that involves the visual examination of the upper intestinal tract by using a long, thin, flexible tube that carrying light and camera and is called as an endoscope. Mouth, esophagus or food pipe and stomach comprises the upper intestinal tract. The stomach secretes potent acid that helps in partial digestion by breakdown the food into the small particles. Then, the food enters the small intestine or duodenum where bile secreted by the liver and the digestive juices secreted by pancreas mix with the food helping the process of digestion.

Equipment

The endoscope is a flexible piece of equipment that can easily be directed and moved in many bends of the gastrointestinal tract. A very tiny computer chip is attached at the end of this video-endoscope which transfers signals to a large screen. There is an open channel of the endoscope which allows the other instruments to pass through it for taking tissue samples (biopsy), remove polyps and performing other exams.

Reasons to perform the Exam

Abdominal pains, vomiting, heartburn

Ulcers — Ulcers are sores in the lining of esophagus, stomach or first part of small intestine (duodenum)

Bleeding — a hidden or heavy bleeding that occurs for various reasons.

Esophagitis and heartburn — a condition in which lining of the esophagus becomes chronically inflamed due to acid reflux.

Gastritis — it is a condition of the inflammation of inner lining of the stomach.

Barrett’s esophagus — precancerous condition which can develop cancer.

Cirrhosis — presence of varices or varicose veins in esophagus suggests cirrhosis.

Preparation

Before the procedure, the physician gives some instructions to the patient about using regular medications and blood thinners. The patient should strictly follow these instructions and avoid drinking or eat anything for eight hours before the exam.

Upper GI Endoscopy Procedure

Upper GI endoscopy is the procedure that is generally performed in an outpatient setting. Usually, intravenous anesthesia is given which makes the patient unconscious for a brief period.  After that, the endoscope is inserted through the mouth and gently moves down into the upper esophagus. The patient can easily breathe throughout the procedure. Certain instruments can also pass through the endoscope to perform some additional procedures if needed. These procedures include biopsy in which a small tissue sample is taken for microscopic analysis and removal of polyp or tumor using thin wire snare and an electrocautery (electrical heat). If bleeding occurs then it can also be controlled. Upper GI Endoscopy usually takes 5-15 minutes and immediately after the procedure, the patient is taken to the recovery area. The patient doesn’t feel any pain during the procedure and seldom remembers about it.

Results

After finishing the procedure, the physician explains the Upper Gastrointestinal Endoscopy results to the patient and his/her family.

Benefits

The primary purpose of Upper GI Endoscopy is the identification and/or treatment of a condition in upper gastrointestinal tract. In this way, the doctor can diagnose a specific condition upon which a proper treatment plan is devised. If bleeding site is identified during the procedure, it can be stopped or esophageal narrowing can be dilated or if a polyp/tumor is found then it can be removed without major surgery. Certain other treatments may also be given through endoscope when needed. The upper GI endoscopy cost at our clinic is affordable.

Alternative Testing

Some alternative tests are also available to upper GI endoscopy that includes ultrasound and a barium x-ray, used to study the organs in the upper abdomen. The study of blood, stools and stomach juice can also be conducted but these provide indirect information about any gastrointestinal condition. Moreover, these tests do not allow the direct viewing of the esophagus, stomach, and duodenum, removing the polyp or having biopsies.

Side Effects and Risks

Immediately after the exam, sometimes a temporary and mild irritation occurs in the throat. The serious risks of upper gi endoscopy are very rare such as aspiration pneumonia and excessive bleeding which occurs as a result of the removal of a large polyp. In very rare cases, a perforation or tear occurs in the wall of stomach or esophagus. These serious complications sometimes may require hospitalization and rarely a surgery. A diagnostic error or failure may occur during the procedure but it is very uncommon. As mild sedation is given to the patient, he/she should not drive following the exam and so someone else should be readily available to drive the patient to home.

Summary

The procedure of upper GI endoscopy is performed simply in the outpatient setting where the patient is lightly sedated. The exam provides significant information about any disease or problem upon which a proper treatment plan can be devised. In certain cases, the treatment can be given directly through the endoscope. The risk of side effects or complications is very low during and after the procedure. The physician provides best follow-up care and answers all the queries to the patient.

For more information about upper GI endoscopy, visit us in Riverdale NJ.