What is upper endoscopy?

Upper endoscopy lets your doctor examine the lining of the esophagus, stomach and duodenum (first portion of the small intestine).

A tiny video camera on a flexible tube, called an endoscope, is passed through your mouth, down the esophagus, through the stomach to the first part of the small intestine. The endoscope doesn't interfere with your breathing, most patients consider the test only slightly uncomfortable, and many patients fall asleep during the procedure.

This procedure can also be called an upper GI endoscopy, Esophagogastroduodenoscopy (EGD) or pan endoscopy.

Why is upper endoscopy done?

Upper endoscopy helps your doctor evaluate symptoms of persistent upper abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting or difficulty swallowing. It's the best test for finding the cause of bleeding from the upper gastrointestinal tract. It's also more accurate than X-ray for detecting inflammation, ulcers and tumors of the esophagus, stomach and duodenum.

Upper endoscopy is also used to obtain biopsies or to treat conditions of the upper gastrointestinal tract.

What happens after upper endoscopy?

You will be monitored until most of the effects of the medication have worn off. Your throat might be a little sore, and you might feel bloated because of the air introduced into your stomach during the test. You will be able to eat after you leave unless your doctor instructs you otherwise.

Your physician will explain the results of the examination to you, although you'll probably have to wait for the results of any biopsies performed.

Someone must drive you home and stay with you. Even if you feel alert after the procedure, your judgment and reflexes could be impaired for the rest of the day.