Upper Endoscopy or Esophagogastroduodenoscopy (EGD) is a diagnostic and therapeutic procedure utilizing flexible fiber optic instrument allowing to view the inside of the esophagus stomach and upper parts of intestine. 

It is performed to diagnose the causes of pain, bleeding or blockage of the upper GI system, and it allows the option of removal of small benign tumors and tissue biopsy. Newer techniques and instruments allow physicians to alter the width of the intestinal tube in cases of narrowing due to scar tissue or reduction of the size of the lumen or stoma, as is the case with bariatric surgery. 

Serving cities such as Frederick and Columbia and the counties of Lancaster and Anne Arundel, Maryland gastroenterology specialists Dr. Andrew Averbach and Dr. Isam Hamdallah are highly trained in the use of endoscopic technology. Please request an appointment online with Dr. Averbach or Dr. Hamdallah or call their office at 410-368-8725.

The Procedure

A thin scope with a light and camera at its tip is used to look inside the upper digestive tract -- the esophagus, stomach, and first part of the small intestine, called the duodenum.

Usually performed as an outpatient procedure, upper endoscopy sometimes must be performed in the hospital or emergency room to both identify and treat conditions such as upper digestive system bleeding.

The procedure is commonly used to help identify the causes of:

  • Abdominal or chest pain
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Heartburn
  • Bleeding
  • Swallowing problems

Endoscopy can also help identify inflammation, ulcers, and tumors.

Upper endoscopy is more accurate than X-rays for detecting abnormal growths such as cancer and for examining the inside of the upper digestive system. In addition, abnormalities can be treated through the endoscope. For example:

  • Polyps (growths of tissue in the stomach) can be identified and removed, and tissue samples (biopsies) can be taken for analysis.
  • Narrowed areas or strictures of the esophagus, stomach, or duodenum from cancer or other diseases can be dilated or stretched using balloons or other devices. In some cases, a stent (a wire or plastic mesh tube) can be put in the stricture to prop it open.
  • Objects stuck in the esophagus can be removed.
  • Bleeding due to ulcers, cancer or varices can be treated.

How Do I Prepare for an Upper Endoscopy?

Before an upper endoscopy, tell your doctor if you are pregnant, have alung or heart condition, or if you are allergic to any medications.

Also, tell your doctor if you have:

  • Ever been told you need to take antibiotics before a dental or surgical procedure
  • Ever had endocarditis (an infection of the heart valves)
  • An artificial heart valve
  • Rheumatic heart disease

If you have any of these conditions or devices, you may need to take antibiotics before the upper endoscopy.

Do not eat or drink anything for eight hours before the procedure.

Medications for high blood pressure, heart conditions, or thyroid conditions may be taken with a small sip of water before the procedure. If you have diabetes and use insulin, you must adjust the dosage of insulin the day of the test. Your diabetes care provider will help you with this adjustment. Bring your diabetes medication with you to your appointment so you can take it after the procedure.

Make arrangements to have someone drive you home following the endoscopy. The sedation given during the procedure causes drowsiness and dizziness and impairs your judgment, making it unsafe for you to drive or operate machinery for up to eight hours following the procedure.

Risks

There is a small chance of a hole (perforation) in the stomach, duodenum, or esophagus from the scope moving through these areas. There is also a small risk of bleeding at the biopsy site.

You could have a reaction to the medicine used during the procedure, which could cause:

  • Apnea (not breathing)
  • Difficulty breathing (respiratory depression)
  • Excessive sweating
  • Low blood pressure (hypotension)
  • Slow heartbeat (bradycardia)
  • Spasm of the larynx (laryngospasm)

 

In Affiliation With Saint Agnes Healthcare

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For more than 150 years, Saint Agnes Hospital has been dedicated to the art of healing by providing exceptional care to the greater Baltimore area. Built on a strong foundation of excellent medical care and compassion, Saint Agnes is committed to providing the best care for our patients for many years to come.