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EGD or UGI Endoscopy Patient Education

What is an EGD?

An EGD is a test that allows your doctor to look at your esophagus, stomach and duodenum (upper part of the small bowel). He or she would like to do an esophagogastroduo - denoscopy (EGD). This test is sometimes called an upper gastrointestinal (UGI) endoscopy. For this test your doctor will use a flexible lighted tube called an endoscope. We perform this test for abdominal pain, vomiting, blood in the stool, difficulty or painful swallowing, a history of ulcers or anemia. Be sure to ask your doctor why he or she wants you to have this test.

How do I prepare for the test?

The preparation for this test depends on your doctor’s orders. Usually you can not eat anything after midnight, but you can drink liquids up to three hours before the procedure. You will need someone to drive you home after your test. Do not plan to drive the day of your procedure if you receive sedation. Plan to have someone with you for a couple of hours after you return home. For your comfort, you may wear a short sleeve T-shirt under your gown during the procedure to keep warm.

What should I expect during the procedure?

  • A nurse will instruct you on breathing exercises that will help you during the procedure.
  • We will insert a small needle into a vein so sedation can be given before and during your test as needed.
  • We will monitor your pulse and oxygen level during the procedure by applying a finger probe.
  • You will lie on your left side.
  • Your doctor may provide a local anesthetic for the back of your throat to relieve the gagging feeling you may have during the procedure. The anesthetic will not interfere with your breathing or your ability to swallow. We may give you a sedative to help you relax.
  • We will place a small plastic mouthpiece between your teeth and or gums to protect your teeth and the endoscope.
  • You may feel increased pressure and a gagging feeling as we pass the endoscope through the opening at the back of the throat into the esophagus. This feeling goes away as the throat becomes accustomed to the endoscope.
  • Because the stomach and duodenum are collapsed when they’re empty, your doctor will introduce air so the walls can be seen. Your doctor may choose to take biopsies (small pieces of gastric tissue) to send to the laboratory for further study. Taking biopsies will not cause you discomfort.
  • A stricture (narrowing) may be found during this procedure. Your doctor may decide to stretch open the stricture at this time.
  • This procedure takes 10-20 minutes.

What can I expect after my test?

  • You will be observed for a minimum of 30 minutes with your blood pressure, pulse and respirations checked every 15 minutes.
  • You may feel bloated after the examination because of the air introduced into your stomach and duodenum. Passing the air will help relieve the pressure.
  • A snack and beverage will be offered to you at this time.
  • Your family members or friends may join you in the observation area if you wish.

When will I get my results?

Your doctor will tell you what he or she has found before you are discharged. You will learn the results of your biopsies in about two weeks. Before you leave the Endoscopy unit, a nurse will give you further instructions depending on what your test involved.

What are the complications from an EGD?

EGD is considered a safe, low risk procedure when performed by a specially trained, experienced doctor.

Possible complications may include:

  • A tear through the wall of the esophagus, stomach or duodenum
  • Bleeding from the site of a biopsy
  • Localized irritation of the vein at the IV site
  • Drug reactions
  • Complications from unrelated diseases

The Endoscopy nurses have been specially trained to assist you in having a safe and comfortable examination.


American Society of Gastroenterology (ASGE)
Society of Gastrointestinal Nurses & Associates (SGNA)



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