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Reasons & Preparation Required For an Upper Gastrointestinal Endoscopy

Submitted on March 27, 2012

The upper gastrointestinal or GI tract includes organs such as, the esophagus, stomach and duodenum. Some patients complain of persistent pain in the abdomen or have a difficulty in swallowing. If an x-ray is unable to detect the problem, the doctor may recommend an Upper Gastrointestinal Endoscopy.

What is Upper Gastrointestinal Endoscopy?

Upper gastrointestinal endoscopy also known as upper GI endoscopy allows your doctor to inspect the inner lining of the upper portion of your gastrointestinal tract. During this procedure the doctor will use a device known as an endoscope to examine the upper GI. The endoscope consists of a thin flexible tube with a light attached to it; this device transmits images of internal organs onto a video screen, allowing the doctor to examine these organs. This test is also known as an esophagogastroduodenoscopy (EGD) or panendoscopy. The patient is administered a local anesthetic, which is either sprayed at the back of the throat or gargled. This helps the patient relax. The patient is then made to lie down on an examination table and the endoscope is carefully fed from the mouth to the esophagus and into the stomach and duodenum.

Reasons Why It is Conducted

It is an excellent method for detecting the cause of bleeding from the upper GI tract, persistent pain in the upper abdomen, vomiting, or difficulty swallowing, inflammations, peptic ulcers and tumors affecting the esophagus, stomach and duodenum. Also, a doctor may ask a patient to undergo an upper GI endoscopy to acquire tissue samples or a biopsy. This biopsy will help the doctor determine whether the tissues are benign or malignant/cancerous. A biopsy could also help detect H. pylori or Helicobacter pylori bacteria that are responsible for causing ulcers. An upper GI endoscope is also used to treat certain conditions of the upper GI tract. For instance, the doctor can use the endoscope to pass instruments through it and treat an abnormality or even reach and remove polyps or treat bleeding.

Preparation

You will need to fast for at least eight hours before undergoing an upper GI endoscopy. Consult your doctor to find out by when you should begin the fast. For the best and safest results your stomach and intestines needs to be empty when you undergo this test. Inform your doctor in advance about your medications and dosages, also alert your doctor about any allergies to medications. You may have to adjust the dosage or stop taking certain medications that could interfere with test results.

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