Upper Gastrointestinal Endoscopy is a procedure that uses a lighted, flexible endoscope to see inside the upper GI tract. The upper GI tract includes the esophagus, stomach, and duodenum—the first part of the small intestine.
An Upper Endoscopy may be recommended if you are experiencing any of the following:
An Upper Endoscopy Can Detect
- abnormal growths
- precancerous conditions
- bowel obstruction
- hiatal hernia
An Upper Endoscopy can be used to remove stuck objects, including food and to treat conditions, such as bleeding ulcers. It can also be used to biopsy tissue in the upper GI tract. During a biopsy, a small piece of tissue is removed for later examination with a microscope.
Preparing for an Upper Endoscopy
The upper GI tract must be empty before an Upper Endoscopy. Generally, no eating or drinking is allowed for 4 to 8 hours before the procedure. Smoking and chewing gum are also prohibited during this time.
Patients should tell their doctor about all health conditions they have—especially heart and lung problems, diabetes, and allergies— and all medications they are taking. Patients may be asked to temporarily stop taking medications that affect blood clotting or interact with sedatives, which are often given during an Upper GI Endoscopy. Medications and vitamins that may be restricted before and after an Upper GI Endoscopy include:
Driving is not permitted for 12 to 24 hours after an Upper Endoscopy to allow sedatives time to completely wear off.
How an Upper GI Endoscopy is Performed
An Upper GI Endoscopy is conducted at a hospital or outpatient center.
Patients may receive a local, liquid anesthetic that is gargled or sprayed on the back of the throat. The anesthetic numbs the throat and calms the gag reflex. An intravenous (IV) needle is placed in a vein in the arm if a sedative will be given. Sedatives help patients stay relaxed and comfortable. While patients are sedated, the doctor and medical staff monitor vital signs.
During the procedure, patients lie on their back or side on an examination table. An endoscope is carefully fed down the esophagus and into the stomach and duodenum. A small camera mounted on the endoscope transmits a video image to a video monitor, allowing close examination of the intestinal lining. Air is pumped through the endoscope to inflate the stomach and duodenum, making them easier to see. Special tools that slide through the endoscope allow the doctor to perform biopsies, stop bleeding, and remove abnormal growths.
Recovery from Upper Endoscopy
After an Upper Endoscopy, the patient is moved to a recovery room where he or she waits about an hour for the sedative to wear off. During this time, the patient may feel bloated or nauseated and may also have a sore throat, which can stay for a day or two. Patients will likely feel tired and should plan to rest for the remainder of the day. Unless otherwise directed, patients may immediately resume their normal diet and medications.
Some results from an Upper Endoscopy are available immediately after the procedure. The doctor will often share results with the patient after the sedative has worn off. Biopsy results are usually ready in a few days.
Risks associated with Upper Endoscopy include:
- abnormal reaction to sedatives
- bleeding from biopsy
- accidental puncture of the upper GI tract
Patients who experience any of the following rare symptoms after an Upper GI Endoscopy should contact their doctor immediately:
- swallowing difficulties
- throat, chest and abdominal pain that worsens
- bloody or very dark stool
Points to Remember
- The Upper Gastrointestinal (GI) Endoscopy is a procedure that uses a lighted, flexible endoscope to see inside the upper GI tract.
- To prepare for an Upper Endoscopy, do not eat or drink for 4 to 8 hours before the procedure. Smoking and chewing gum are also prohibited.
- Patients should tell their doctor about all health conditions they have and all medications they are taking.
- Driving is not permitted for 12 to 24 hours after an Upper Endoscopy to allow the sedative time to wear off. Before the appointment, patients should make plans for a ride home.
- Before an Upper Endoscopy, the patient will receive a local anesthetic to numbthe throat.
- An intravenous (IV) needle is placed in a vein in the arm if a sedative will be given.
- During an Upper Endoscopy, an endoscope is carefully fed into the upper GI tract, and images are transmitted to a video monitor.
- Special tools that slide through the endoscope allow the doctor to perform biopsies, stop bleeding and remove abnormal growths.
- After an Upper Endoscopy, patients may feel bloated or nauseated and may also have a sore throat.
- Unless otherwise directed, patients may immediately resume their normal diet and medications.
- Possible risks of an Upper Endoscopy include abnormal reaction to sedatives, bleeding from biopsy, and accidental puncture of the upper GI tract.
> Click the link below to view an educational video about the Upper GI Endoscopy
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