An upper endoscopy is a medical procedure in which the physician is able to look directly inside the upper region of the gastrointestinal tract. This allows examination of the esophagus, stomach and duodenum. Any complications within the gastrointestinal tract such as inflammation, ulcers, redness, irritation and tumors can be detected through this method. An upper endoscopy is most commonly done in order to examine cases of unexplained discomfort in the upper abdominal region, gastroesophageal reflux disease or GERD. It is also conducted to check conditions like chronic nausea and vomiting, bleeding in the upper gastrointestinal tract, problems in swallowing, abnormal findings on x-rays or other scans, removal of swallowed objects and to monitor the healing of growths or ulcers.
Prior to the procedure, the doctor will advise you on the preparations that need to be done. These preparations help to reduce the risk of complications and improve safety throughout the procedure. You will also be informed to discontinue eating or drinking for up to eight hours prior to the test since the stomach needs to be empty for the physician to examine it properly. You may also be asked to stop or alter the dosages of certain medications before the test. Before insertion of the endoscope, medications are administered intravenously and a sedative is given to enable the body to relax. The endoscope, which is a flexible tube with a camera at one end, is slowly inserted into the throat. The scope also has a light and a lens which allows the specialist to examine the lining of the gastrointestinal tract. It is most likely that you will not feel anything during the process due to the effects of the sedative. In some cases, tissue samples may be taken which are then sent for further analysis. Air may be introduced through the scope so that the stomach, esophagus and intestines open up, making them more visible. As the air is pushed into the gastrointestinal tract, there may be a mild discomfort. Breathing will continue normally as the scope does not hamper it. You may be able to relax better by taking slow deep breaths.
After the procedure you will be kept under observation for a couple of hours until the effects of the sedative wears off. The medication may cause temporary tiredness or sluggishness and it is advisable not to drive or resume work immediately after the procedure. Most people experience a sensation of bloating due to the introduction of air, but this subsides quickly. Some may even experience mild soreness in the throat
Submitted by M T on April 1, 2010 at 03:46