What Is an Upper Endoscopy?
An upper endoscopy is a procedure where an endoscope, which is a long flexible tube with a camera on the end, is fed through a patient’s esophagus, stomach, and duodenum. The camera provides images of the patient’s upper digestive tract which allows the doctor to examine the lining and diagnose some gastrointestinal disorders. Biopsies can be taken during this procedure if the doctor sees something that needs closer examination. Upper endoscopies are often ordered when patients have symptoms including chronic heartburn, nausea and vomiting, issues with swallowing, pain, and unexplained weight loss. Doctors use upper endoscopies to diagnose conditions including: • Anemia • Cancer or precancerous abnormalities • Celiac disease • Gastroesophageal reflux disease • Inflammation • Ulcers
What Happens During an Upper Endoscopy?
Before the procedure is carried out, the patient will be advised to fast for approximately eight hours to ensure that the doctor will be able to see the tract clearly. The patient will receive a sedative via an IV to help him or her remain relaxed and comfortable throughout the endoscopy. The doctor will apply a local anesthetic to the throat to calm the gag reflex and allow the slim tube to pass more easily through the esophagus. The patient typically lies on his or her side on an exam table during the procedure. An upper endoscopy usually takes between 15 and 30 minutes and allows the doctor to see any damage or abnormality in the upper GI tract. Some patients even fall asleep during the procedure and experience only minor discomfort in the throat for a day or so after the procedure takes place.
How Should a Patient Prepare for an Upper Endoscopy?
The doctors at Gastroenterology of Westchester will provide thorough consultations with patients in advance of the upper endoscopy. Patients should make sure the doctor is aware of aware of any allergies, all medications, and supplements being taken including vitamins, any bleeding problems, heart problems, diabetes, pregnancy, as well as any previous treatments to the esophagus. Patients are advised not to eat or drink for eight hours preceding the procedure. Patients should arrange for a friend or family member to accompany them and to drive him or her home as the sedative may cause lasting grogginess.