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What is an Upper GI Endoscopy?

An upper GI endoscopy or EGD (esophagoastroduodenoscopy) is an examination of the lining of the upper digestive tract through a flexible tube (endoscope). This allows a specially trained physician to directly view the esophagus (food tube), stomach and duodenum (first portion of the small intestine) and identify any problems.

What to Expect

To properly prepare for your procedure, you may need to make certain changes to your daily medication routine.

  • If you take insulin, consult with your physician about making any necessary changes in your daily regimen.
  • If you take medications that contain aspirin or other anti-inflammatory drugs (such as Motrin®, Advil®, Indocin®, or Feldene®), we recommend that you stop taking them seven days before your procedure. They may increase your risk of bleeding after removal of a polyp or a biopsy during your upper GI endoscopy by interfering with the normal clotting of your blood.
  • If you are currently taking Coumadin® or Heparin®, you must check with your prescribing physician before changing or interrupting your daily routine.

Certain medications SHOULD BE continued prior to your upper GI endoscopy. If you take cardiac (heart) or anti-hypertensive (high blood pressure) pills, take them as you normally do with small sips of water.

In addition to changes to your medication:

  • Bring a list of all your medications (prescription medications, over-the-counter medications and eye drops) with you on the day of your procedure. You may bring the medication bottles themselves.
  • Be prepared to list and describe your allergies and reactions to any medications.
  • Because you will receive a relaxing medication during your procedure, you must arrange to have a responsible adult pick you up and/or accompany you home if you taking public transportation. You may not operate an automobile or other mechanical equipment until the day following your procedure.
  • To ensure the most accurate results possible, it is important that you do not eat or drink anything after midnight on the day before your procedure. The exception is medication taken with small sips of water.

If you are scheduled for a morning procedure:

You should have nothing by mouth (including gum and mints) after midnight. The exception is medication taken with small sips of water.

If you are scheduled for an afternoon procedure:

  • You may continue drinking small quantities of clear liquids up to 6 hours prior to your scheduled arrival time.
  • Drink clear liquids including water, apple juice, ginger ale, sprite, beef or chicken broth WITHOUT noodles, coffee or tea without cream or milk, most sodas, sherbet, popsicles, and Jell-O® that is not red or orange. Do not drink anything red or orange.

The Day of Your Procedure

On the day of your upper gastrointestinal endoscopy, plan to spend several hours at the unit to allow time for your preparation, procedure, and recovery.

Before the procedure, a nurse will greet you and assist with changing into a hospital gown. An IV will be placed in your arm. You will receive relaxing medications through the IV during the procedure. You will be lying on your side during the upper endoscopy and the endoscope will be passed through your mouth and throat to view the upper digestive tract. The procedure takes approximately 15 to 30 minutes to complete.

After the upper endoscopy, you will be taken to the recovery area where you will be monitored until most of the effects of the relaxing medication have worn off. You may have some cramping or bloating as a result of the procedure.

The endoscopist will discuss the results of your procedure with you prior to your departure. You will receive discharge instructions on the day of the test. Your endoscopy report and biopsy results will be sent to your referring physician.

If you would like to speak to a nurse regarding your procedure or preparation, or if you need to reschedule your procedure, please call the appropriate number:

Perelman Center for Advanced Medicine

Procedure Questions: 215-662-2122

To Reschedule: 215-349-8222

Penn Presbyterian Medical Center

All Questions: 215-662-8900

Pennsylvania Hospital

All Questions: 215-829-3561

Penn Medicine Radnor

All Questions: 610-902-1500

These instructions apply to patients scheduled for procedures at Penn Gastroenterology. However, your doctor may give you different instructions or procedures. If you have questions about your procedure, contact your physician at Penn Gastroenterology.

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