Is an Esophagogastroduodenoscopy (EGD) Test?
Your doctor performs an esophagogastroduodenoscopy (EGD) to
examine the lining of your esophagus, stomach, and duodenum. The esophagus is
the muscular tube that connects your throat to your stomach and the duodenum,
which is the upper part of your small intestine.
An endoscope is a small camera on a tube. An EGD test involves
passing an endoscope down your throat and along the length of your esophagus.
an EGD Test Is Performed
Your doctor may recommend an EGD test if you have certain
symptoms that aren’t responding to treatment. These symptoms include:
- severe, chronic heartburn
- vomiting blood
- black or tarry stools
- regurgitating food
- pain in your upper abdomen
- unexplained anemia
- persistent nausea or vomiting
- unexplained weight loss
- a feeling of fullness after eating less than
- a feeling that food is lodged behind your
- pain or difficulty swallowing
Your doctor may also use this test to help see how
effectively a treatment is going or to track complications if you have:
- Crohn’s disease
- peptic ulcer disease
- cirrhosis of the liver
- swollen veins in your lower esophagus
and How Is the Test Administered?
Before administering an EGD, your doctor will likely give
you a sedative and a painkiller. This will prevent you from feeling any pain.
Usually, people don’t even remember the test.
Your doctor may also spray a local anesthetic into your mouth
to stop you from gagging or coughing as the endoscope is inserted. You’ll also
have to wear a mouth guard to prevent damage to your teeth or the camera.
The doctor will insert an intravenous (IV) needle into your
arm so that they may give you medications throughout the test. You’ll be asked
to lie on your left side during the procedure.
Once the sedatives have taken effect, the endoscope will be
inserted into your esophagus and passed down into your stomach and the upper
part of your small intestine. Air will then be passed through the endoscope so
that the doctor can clearly see the lining of your esophagus.
During the examination, the doctor might take small tissue
samples using the endoscope. These samples can later be examined with a
microscope to identify any abnormalities in your cells. This process is called
Treatments can sometimes be done during an EGD, such as
widening any abnormally narrow areas of your esophagus.
The complete test lasts between five and 20 minutes.
for the Test
Your doctor will advise you to stop taking medications such
as aspirin and other blood-thinning agents for several days before the test.
You won’t be able to eat anything for six to 12 hours before
the test. People who wear dentures will be asked to remove them for the test.
As for all medical test and procedures, you’ll be asked to sign an informed
consent form before undergoing the procedure.
and Complications of an EGD Test
In general, an EGD is a safe procedure. There’s a very
slight risk that the endoscope will cause a small hole in your esophagus, stomach,
or small intestine. There’s also a small risk of prolonged bleeding from the site
of the biopsy.
Some people also may have a reaction to the sedatives and
painkillers used throughout the procedure. These could include:
- difficulty breathing or an inability to breathe
- low blood pressure
- slow heartbeat
- excessive sweating
- a spasm of the larynx
than one out of every 1,000 people experience these complications.
Normal results mean that the complete inner lining of your
esophagus is smooth and shows no signs of the following:
The following may cause abnormal EGD results:
disease causes damage to your intestinal lining and prevents it from
rings are an abnormal growth of tissue that occurs where your esophagus
joins your stomach.
varices are swollen veins within the lining of your esophagus.
- A hiatal
hernia is a disorder that causes a portion of your stomach to bulge
through the opening in the diaphragm.
is an inflammation of the lining of your stomach or upper small intestine.
reflux disease (GERD) is a disorder that causes liquid or food from your
stomach to leak back into your esophagus.
syndrome is a tear in the lining of your esophagus.
can also be present in your stomach or small intestine.
to Expect After the Test
A nurse will observe you for about an hour following the
test to make sure that the anesthetic has worn off and you’re able to swallow
without difficulty or discomfort.
You may feel slightly bloated. You may also have slight
cramping or a sore throat. These side effects are quite normal and should go
away completely within 24 hours. Wait to eat or drink until you can swallow
comfortably. Once you do begin eating, start with a light snack.
You should seek immediate medical attention if:
- your symptoms are worse than before the test
- you have difficulty swallowing
- you feel dizzy or faint
- you’re vomiting
- you have sharp pains in your abdomen
- you have blood in your stool
- you’re unable to eat or drink
- you’re urinating less than usual or not at all
Your doctor will go over the results of the test with you. They
may order more tests before they give you a diagnosis or create a treatment