Upper Gastrointestinal Endoscopy

An upper gastrointestinal endoscopy (upper GI), also called an esophagogastroduodenoscopy (EGD), or a stomach scope test, involves passing a flexible instrument through the mouth into the esophagus, the tube that connects the mouth to the stomach. The flexible instrument, an endoscope, provides images of the esophagus, stomach, and upper small intestine (duodenum). The endoscope also has a channel through which forceps (tweezers) may pass to take tiny pieces of tissue (a biopsy) for analysis.

Rutgers Health Gastroenterology physicians have expert skills in the technique of upper GI as well as other life-changing tools and procedures. Our doctors are on the faculty of Rutgers New Jersey Medical School, a part of Rutgers University, one of the top research institutions in America. Our doctors are active in research and in teaching about all aspects of gastroenterology and hepatology. Each brings leading-edge knowledge from the classroom to the exam room.

Preparing for an Upper GI Exam

To ensure that the examination of your stomach, esophagus, and duodenum is complete, do not eat or drink anything after midnight the day prior to the procedure. Medications should be taken on the day of the test.

For those who are diabetic: If taking insulin, take only half of your normal dose on the morning of the exam since you will not be eating as much as usual. Do not take your diabetes pill on the morning of the exam. Check your blood sugar at home before coming for the test. If you have other questions, please contact your physician before the test.

How the Upper GI Exam Is Done

An upper GI takes about 15-to-20 minutes. An intravenous line is placed in your arm to administer medications that make you sleepy, but not unconscious, and your mouth might be numbed with a topical spray. A physician (an endoscopist), will begin the procedure while you lie on your left side. The endoscope will pass over your tongue into your esophagus. A small amount of air will blow through the endoscope so the endoscopist can obtain better pictures of linings in the esophagus, stomach, and duodenum. Should the doctor notice any abnormalities, a biopsy will be taken using forceps that pass through the endoscope. These samples will be evaluated or will establish the presence of an infection in the stomach.

Before you leave the upper GI exam, the endoscopist will discuss any findings with you and send a report to your physician.

Post-Exam Arrangements

The effects of medication during an upper GI can make people forgetful and drowsy, and patients cannot drive on the day of the exam. Patients must make prior arrangements for transportation with a responsible adult who must pick up patients from the recovery area and accompany them home. An escort must accompany a patient home even if the patient is traveling by taxicab, car service, or public transportation. Please note that procedures are subject to cancellation without prior arrangements for escorts home.

If you or a loved one is in need of an upper GI exam, please contact Rutgers Health Gastroenterology for an appointment.