EGD is the abbreviation of esophagogastroduodenoscopy, which is also called upper endoscopy. It is a very safe procedure to diagnosis and treat diseases of upper part of the gastrointestinal tract up to the duodenum.

Why is EGD performed?

EGD is used to directly see the lining of the upper part of the GI tract, including esophagus, stomach, and some portions of the duodenum. It is a very useful tool to to look for conditions such as Barrett's esophagus, polyps, varices, cancer, esophagitis, gastritis, and ulcer, etc. EGD is often used to insert a feeding tube into the stomach (PEG tube or G-tube) or small bowel (J-tube). EGD may also be used to investigate unexplained difficulty swallowing, diarrhea, bleeding and anemia. Sometimes EGD is used to evaluate an abnormality seen on other imaging tests such as CT scans and X-ray studies.

How to prepare for the procedure?

The test requires an empty stomach for the best and safest examination. You should have nothing, including water, to eat or drink at least four hours before the examination. If you have slow motility of your stomach, such as gastroparesis, you may need longer fasting time. Follow your doctor's instruction and ask if you are not clear. Your cooperation in this preparation will allow the gastroenterologist to get the clearest and most accurate views possible.

Can I take my regular medications?

Most medications can continue to be taken as directed. You should tell your doctor about all your medications, especially aspirin products, anti-inflammatory medications such as ibuprofen, pain medicines, blood thinners, insulin or iron supplements. Don't forget to mention "over the counter" supplements that you may be taking as well. You should also tell your doctor if you normally require antibiotics before dental procedures, since you may have the same needs before your EGD.

Is EGD painful?

An EGD is a comfortable exam because it is usually done with intravenous sedation. This means that you will be in a very sleepy state during the procedure. Sometime, may need deep sedation with an anesthesiologist for longer procedure or sick patients.

What happens after an EGD?

Your physician will explain the results of the examination, but you will probably have to wait for the results of any biopsies. If you received sedatives during the exam, you will need to have a friend or relative take you home. Even if you feel alert after the procedure, your judgment and reflexes could be impaired for the rest of the day. You might feel sore throat after the procedure, but this should disappear a day or two, alert your doctor if persists.

What are the possible complications or risks of EGD?

EGD is very safe when performed by specially trained doctors with experience performing these types of procedures. As with any medical procedure, even in expert hands, unintended events may happen and you need to be aware of the potential consequences.

There is a small risk of having a reaction to any of the drugs given during the exam. In most cases, medications are available to counteract these side effects. A rare complication is tearing or perforation of the lining of the GI tract. Should this occur, surgery may or may not be needed to seal the injury. Another risk is bleeding, usually at the site of a biopsy or polyp removal. Most cases of bleeding stop without treatment or can be controlled at the time of procedure. Infection can happen, but is rare.

What sort of things should concern me after the EGD?

Although complications after EGD are uncommon, it is important to be aware of early signs that something is wrong. You should not hesitate to contact your doctor up to two weeks after the EGD if you feel abdominal pain, dizziness, fever/chills, or notice bloody or dark stools.