What is Upper Endoscopy?

Upper endoscopy is a procedure performed to enable your physician to examine the lining of the upper part of your gastrointestinal tract. The upper part of your gastrointestinal tract includes your esophagus, stomach, and duodenum. The upper endoscopy is performed to diagnose and, in some cases, treat problems of the upper digestive system. The procedure is performed using a flexible endoscope.The flexible endoscope is a long, thin, flexible tube with a tiny camera and light on the end. The endoscope projects high quality pictures on a monitor which enables the physician to carefully examine the inside lining of the upper digestive system.

Why is upper endoscopy done?

The upper endoscopy is performed to evaluate symptoms of persistent upper abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, or difficulty swallowing. It is also the best test for finding the cause of bleeding from the upper gastrointestinal tract

What preparation is required?

You should have nothing to eat or drink, including water, after midnight the day before your procedure. Your physician will be more specific about the time to begin fasting, depending on the time of day your test is scheduled.

You will need to inform your physician of your current medications as well as any allergies several days prior to the procedure. You need to inform your physician if you have a pacemaker or defibrillator or any major disease that might require special attention during the procedure

Arrangements to get home after the test

If you are sedated, you will need to arrange to have someone to drive you home after the examination. The sedatives may affect your judgment and reflexes the rest of the day, you should not drive, operate any machinery, or make any important decisions.

What can be expected during the upper endoscopy?

Your physician will review with you why this test is being performed, whether any alternative tests are available and possible complications from the procedure. You will have medication given through an IV to sedate you, a latex free mouthpiece will be placed between your teeth to protect your teeth and the instrument. The endoscope will be passed through the mouthpiece, then the esophagus, stomach and duodenum. The endoscope does not interfere with your breathing during the test. Your blood pressure, heart rhythm, and oxygen saturation will be carefully monitored throughout the procedure.

What happens after endoscopy?

After the test you will be monitored in the recovery area until most of the effects of the medication have worn off. You will be given instructions regarding how soon you can eat and drink, and guidelines for resuming normal activities.

Occasionally, minor problems may persist, such as a mild sore throat, bloating, or cramping; these should disappear within 24 hours or less.

In most cases, your physician can inform you of your test results on the day of the procedure; however, the results of any biopsies or cytology samples taken will take two to three days.

What are the possible complications of upper endoscopy?

Endoscopy is generally safe. Complications can occur but are rare. Bleeding may occur from a biopsy site or where a polyp was removed. Localized irritation of the vein where the medication was injected may rarely cause a tender lump lasting for several weeks. Applying heat packs or hot moist towels may help relieve the discomfort. Other potential risks include a reaction to the sedatives used and complications from heart or lung diseases. Perforation (a tear that might require surgery) could possible occur but is very uncommon.

It is important to recognize early signs of any possible complications. If you begin to run a temperature after your procedure, begin to have trouble swallowing, or have increasing throat, chest, or abdominal pain, let you physician know immediately.