An Upper Gastrointestinal Endoscopy or Esophago-Gastro-Duodenoscopy, also known as an EGD, is a procedure in which the lining of the esophagus, stomach and proximal small intestine, known as the duodenum, are visualized. While asleep (in a twilight state), a long tube containing an optical system for visualization is inserted through the mouth and passed along the upper GI tract. For many, one or more biopsies may be obtained and studied, in order to diagnose abnormal tissue. This procedure may aid in the diagnosing and treatment of patients with symptoms such as, persistent upper abdominal (epigastric) pain, nausea, vomiting or difficulty swallowing, gastrointestinal bleeding, anemia, peptic tumors, H. Pylori and infection, etc.

How the Test is Performed

EGD is done in the hospital or medical center. The procedure uses an endoscope. This is a flexible tube with a camera at the end.

The procedure is done as follows:

  • You receive medicine into a vein to help you relax. You should feel no pain and not remember the procedure.
  • A local anesthetic may be sprayed into your mouth to prevent you from coughing or gagging when the endoscope is inserted. A mouth guard is used to protect your teeth and the endoscope. Dentures must be removed before the procedure begins.
  • You then lie on your left side.
  • The scope is inserted through the esophagus (food pipe) to the stomach and duodenum. Air is put through the endoscope to make it easier for the doctor to see.
  • The lining of the esophagus, stomach, and upper duodenum is examined. Biopsies can be taken through the endoscope. Biopsies are tissue samples that are looked at under the microscope.
  • Different treatments may be done, such as stretching or widening a narrowed area of the esophagus.

After the test is finished, you will not be able to have food and liquid until your gag reflex returns (so you do not choke).

The test lasts about 5 to 20 minutes.

NIH: National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases