WHAT IS ESOPHAGO GASTRO DUODENOSCOPY (EGD)?
EGD (upper endoscopy) is a procedure where a small thin flexible tube with a camera on the tip is passed through your mouth while you are sleeping to evaluate your esophagus, stomach and proximal small bowel.
WHY IS EGD PROCEDURE DONE?
There are many reasons why we perform upper endoscopy. One of the most common is for gastro esophageal reflux disease (GERD). Patients with GERD have gastric juice and acid that refluxes up into the esophagus and can cause of symptoms ranging from chest and abdominal pain, burning, belching and even shortness of breath. Long-term untreated reflux disease puts some patients at risk for the development of Barrett’s esophagus which can progress to esophageal cancer. This condition can be detected during upper endoscopy and there are treatments available to help prevent the development of esophageal cancer.
Another common reason for upper endoscopy is in the workup of abdominal pain. Multiple things in the upper gastrointestinal tract can cause abdominal pain. Conditions like esophagitis, ulcers and gastric cancer. These can all be detected during upper endoscopy. Anemia is another condition for which we frequently do upper endoscopy. There are diseases that cause both bleeding and malabsorption both of which can lead to anemia. Certain causes of chronic diarrhea like celiac disease, tropical sprue and certain infections can also be detected during upper endoscopy. Nausea and vomiting are common symptoms for which upper endoscopy is performed. It is also done if you suffer from swallowing problems (dysphagia) as there are many conditions of the esophagus (esophagitis, strictures and esophageal cancer) that can be detected during upper endoscopy and treated.
HOW DO I SCHEDULE AN EGD PROCEDURE IN SAN ANTONIO TX?
Scheduling an EGD procedure with my office is easy. No prior office visit is required. There are several ways to accomplish this. You can speak to your primary care physician and have them send us a request form and my office will contact you to make the arrangements. Another option is to call my office directly at 210-615-8308 and we will talk you through the process over the phone and help to make all arrangements. Another way is by clicking the “request an appointment” link below and filling in the appropriate information. My office will contact you within one business day to make the arrangements. We will also help you deal with and answer all questions regarding your insurance coverage.
WHAT IS INVOLVED IN PREPARATIOIN FOR AN UPPER ENDOSCOPY?
There is no preparation that you have to take for this procedure. We will ask that you don’t eat or drink anything for about 8 hours prior to your exam. It is important that your stomach is empty during this exam. This is for your safety to reduce the risk of vomiting and possible aspiration during the procedure. There are also certain types of medications (blood thinners, anti-platelet agents, diabetes medications) that may need to be held or adjusted for this exam. Please ask you physician or our office about any of these.
WHAT CAN I EXPECT THE DAY OF THE UPPER ENDOSCOPY?
We will do everything we can to make your exam as safe, pleasant and comfortable as possible. You will be asked to arrive at the endoscopy center at least one hour prior to your scheduled exam time. This will allow our nurses and anesthesia providers to go over everything with you in detail and go through your health and medical history so that we can keep you as safe as possible. They will also answer any questions you have.
They will place an IV in a vein in your arm so that you can be given fluids and medications during the exam. You and I will talk and answer any questions you have prior to the exam as well. You will then be given medications through the IV so that you will be comfortable and sleep during the exam. You will be awake enough that you will be breathing on your own but sleepy enough that you are comfortable. Once you drift off to sleep, we will take the scope and pass it through your mouth, down your esophagus, through your stomach and into the top of your small intestine. This takes approximately 15-20 minutes.
You will then be taken to the recovery room where a different set of nurses will monitor you closely until you are fully awake. I will go over the results of your exam with you before you leave the endoscopy center that day and copies will be sent to your physician. Although you will be awake before you leave it is essential that you bring a friend or relative with you that can safely drive you home. You will want to take this day off of work and will likely feel like just taking it easy and resting the rest of the day. The day after your exam you can resume full activity.
WHAT ARE THE POSSIBLE COMPLICATIONS?
Upper endoscopy is a safe procedure when performed by a physician who has been specially trained in this type of procedure. Having said that, as with any medical procedure, there are possible risks. One possible risk is a reaction to the medications given to make you comfortable during the exam. This is why it is important that you spend time discussing your medical history with our nurses and anesthesia providers prior to the exam. If a reaction to these medications occurs, our anesthesia providers and physicians are specially trained in dealing with these issues.
Another possible risk is perforation or tear through the wall of the gastrointestinal tract. Sometimes a perforation or tear requires surgery to repair. This complication is rare but is possible. Bleeding can occur from a biopsy. This risk goes up if you take certain medications. This is why it is important to review your medical history and medications that you take with our staff prior to your exam. Aspiration is also a risk. Aspiration occurs if you happen to vomit during your exam and it goes into your lungs. This is why it is very important not to eat or drink for 8 hours prior to your exam.
Although complications of upper endoscopy are uncommon we know they are possible. We continued to do everything we can to help keep these to a minimum as your safety is our first priority. It is also important that you recognize early signs and symptoms of these complications. If you notice any severe abdominal pain, fevers, chills or bleeding after your procedure please contact our office immediately. Our nursing staff will go over this with you as well at the end of your exam.