Upper GI endoscopy is a procedure where an endoscope, or a long flexible tube with a camera on the end, is fed through a patient’s esophagus, stomach, and duodenum. The doctor is able to see the lining of the upper GI with this procedure, which assists in diagnosing some gastrointestinal disorders. If necessary, biopsies can be taken during this procedure. This procedure is often ordered when patients present symptoms like chronic heartburn, nausea, and vomiting, issues with swallowing, pain, and unexplained weight loss. Some of the conditions that can be diagnosed with this procedure include:
Before the procedure is carried out, the patient will be advised not to eat or drink for approximately eight hours to ensure that the doctor will be able to see the tract clearly. The procedure is usually performed at a hospital or outpatient center. The patient will receive a sedative via an IV to help him or her stay relaxed and comfortable during the procedure. A local anesthetic will be applied to the throat to calm the gag reflex and allow the slim tube to pass more easily through the esophagus. The patient will lie on his or her side on an exam table while the procedure takes place. The procedure takes between 15 and 30 minutes and allows the doctor to see any damage or abnormality in the upper GI tract. Many patients fall asleep during the procedure and experience only minor discomfort in the throat for a day or so after the procedure is completed.
The patient should discuss the procedure with the doctor in advance and make sure the doctor is aware of any allergies, all medications, and supplements being taken, any bleeding problems, heart problems, diabetes, pregnancy, or any previous treatments to the esophagus. The patient should not eat or drink for eight hours preceding the procedure and should arrange for someone to drive him or her home as the sedation may cause lasting grogginess.
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