Esophagogastroduodenoscopy (EGD) Test

What is an EGD (esophagogastroduodenoscopy)?

Your doctor may recommend an EGD (esophagogastroduodenoscopy) or upper GI endoscopy if you have symptoms such as heartburn, stomach bleeding, swallowing problems, or upper abdominal pain. An EGD is a diagnostic and treatment procedure during which the doctor uses a thin lighted tube that is guided through your mouth down into your esophagus, stomach and duodenum (first part of small intestine) to examine for abnormalities.

Preparing for EGD and what to expect

Your doctor may advise you to stop taking certain medications before your test. You'll also need to arrive on an empty stomach for better results and also because you'll be receiving anesthesia (medication) to help you relax. Due to the anesthesia, you'll also need to have someone drive you home afterward.

The procedure itself involves anesthesia given through a vein in your arm to make you sleepy. You will then receive local anesthesia (numbing agent in the mouth) so you won't gag or cough when the endoscope is inserted. If you have dentures, you'll be asked to remove them beforehand.

Lying on your left side, the scope is guided down to the small intestine. Air in the scope allows the doctor to look for abnormalities in the lining of the esophagus, stomach and upper duodenum. The doctor may also use the endoscope to expand a narrowed area and may take sample tissue for biopsy.

After your lab results are back, your doctor will go over your test results with you. Abnormal findings may indicate any number of conditions, such as celiac disease, gastritis, hiatal hernia, ulcers or cancer. The EDG helps your doctor identify the cause of your symptoms so you can both determine next steps, if needed.