What is upper gastrointestinal (GI) Endoscopy?
Upper GI Endoscopy is a procedure that uses a lighted, flexible tube to see inside the upper GI tract. The upper GI tract includes the esophagus, stomach, and duodenum—the first part of the small intestine.
What problems can upper GI Endoscopy detect?
Upper GI Endoscopy can detect the following:
- abnormal growths
- precancerous conditions
- bowel obstruction
- hiatal hernia
When is upper GI Endoscopy used?
Upper GI Endoscopy can be used to determine the cause of the following:
- abdominal pain
- swallowing difficulties
- gastric reflux
- unexplained weight loss
- bleeding in the upper GI tract
Upper GI 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.
How to Prepare for Upper GI Endoscopy
The upper GI tract must be empty before upper GI Endoscopy. Generally, no eating or drinking is allowed eight hours before the procedure. Smoking and chewing gum are also prohibited during this time.
Patients should inform the doctor about all health conditions they have, especially heart and lung problems, diabetes, allergies. Patients should list all medications they are taking since they may be asked to temporarily stop taking medications that affect blood clotting or those that interact with sedatives, which are often administered during upper GI Endoscopy.
Medications and vitamins that may be restricted before and after upper GI Endoscopy include:
- non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as aspirin, ibuprofen (Advil), and naproxen (Aleve)
- blood thinners
- blood pressure medications
- diabetes medications
- dietary supplements
Driving is not permitted after upper GI Endoscopy, if sedatives are used, to allow sedatives time to completely wear off. Before the appointment, patients should make plans for a ride home with a responsible companion.
How is upper GI Endoscopy performed?
Upper GI Endoscopy is conducted at a hospital or outpatient center.
An intravenous (IV) needle is placed in a vein in the arm in case a sedative is administered. Sedatives help patients stay relaxed and comfortable. The doctor and medical staff monitor vital signs while patients are sedated.
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, for better viewing. Special tools that slide through the endoscope allow the doctor to perform biopsies, stop bleeding, and remove abnormal growths.
Recovery from Upper GI Endoscopy
Patients are moved to a recovery room after an upper GI Endoscopy where they wait about an hour for the sedative to wear off. 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 upper GI 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.
What are the risks associated with upper GI Endoscopy?
Risks associated with upper GI 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 upper GI Endoscopy should contact their doctor immediately:
- Swallowing difficulties
- Throat, chest, and abdominal pain that worsens
- Bloody or very dark stool
Preparations for Procedures
Informed consent will be obtained for any elective procedure performed by Dr. Llaneza. The patient will receive a full disclosure of the procedure, alternatives, risks, and possible consequences at the time of the visit. Please refer to the procedure descriptions listed under “Procedure Tab” in this website.