Upper GI Endoscopy, which is sometimes called EGD (esophagogastroduodenoscopy), is a visual examination of the upper intestinal tract using a lighted, flexible fiber-optic or video endoscope. The upper gastro-intestinal tract begins with the mouth and continues to the esophagus which carries food to the stomach. The J-shaped stomach secretes a potent acid and churns food into small particles. The food then enters the duodenum, or small bowel, where bile from the liver and digestive juices from the pancreas mix with it to help the digestive process.
Reasons For The Exam
Due to factors related to diet, environment and heredity, the upper GI tract is the site of numerous disorders. These can develop into a variety of diseases and/or symptoms. Upper GI endoscopy helps in diagnosing and often in treating these conditions:
Upper GI endoscopy is usually performed on an outpatient basis. The throat is often anesthetized by a spray or liquid. Intravenous sedation is usually given to relax the patient, deaden the gag reflex and cause short-term amnesia. For some individuals who can relax on their own and whose gagging can be controlled, the exam is done without intravenous medications. The endoscope is then gently inserted into the upper esophagus. The patient can breathe easily throughout the exam. Other instruments can be passed through the endoscope to perform additional procedures if necessary. For example, a biopsy can be done in which a small tissue specimen is obtained for microscopic analysis. A polyp or tumor can be removed using a thin wire snare and electrocautery (electrical heat). The exam takes from 15 to 30 minutes, after which the patient is taken to the recovery area. There is no pain with the procedure and patients seldom remember much about it.
An upper GI endoscopy is performed primarily to identify and/or correct a problem in the upper gastrointestinal tract. This means the test enables a diagnosis to be made upon which specific treatment can be given. If a bleeding site is identified, treatment can stop the bleeding, or if a polyp is found, it can be removed without a major operation. Other treatments can be given through the endoscope when necessary.