An esophagogastroduodenoscopy, also known as an upper endoscopy, is a medical procedure performed for the purpose of diagnosing abnormalities of the upper gastrointestinal tract lining, as well as the esophagus, stomach, and duodenum. To make this examination, the clinician, usually a gastroenterologist, uses a long, telescopic device called an endoscope. This instrument is fitted with a tiny light and camera on the end, which transmits images to a special monitor. The endoscope is also hollow with openings at various points, which permits the passage of surgical implements to remove tissue samples for biopsy.
Usually, an esophagogastroduodenoscopy is done on an outpatient basis. However, a sedative may be given prior to the procedure, which necessitates a short period of recovery time at the facility, as well as the need to have someone drive the patient home. A local anesthetic may also be given, which may continue to inhibit the gag reflex for several hours. In addition, it is necessary for the patient to refrain from drinking or eating at least six hours before the procedure, and to stop taking all anti-inflammatory drugs, including aspirin, seven to ten days beforehand to reduce the risk of excessive bleeding.
In addition to being a diagnostic tool, esophagogastroduodenoscopy also permits the clinician to treat various disorders in a less invasive manner than open surgery. For instance, it is often used to widen sections of the esophagus that have become too narrow, a condition known as strictures. The procedure may also be performed to correct achalasia, a malfunction of the muscle that joins the esophagus and the stomach. It may also be used to address other gastrointestinal disorders, such as hiatal hernia, stomach ulcers, and gastroesophageal reflux disease.
Not every patient is a candidate for esophagogastroduodenoscopy, however. For example, it is not recommended for people with esophageal diverticula, due to the risk of infection. The procedure is also contraindicated in those who evidence bleeding ulcers, or those with a history of hemophilia or other platelet disorder. In addition, this procedure will not be performed if tearing of the esophagus or a perforation of the stomach or duodenum is suspected. Pregnancy may also rule out this procedure until a later date.
While esophagogastroduodenoscopy is generally considered safe, there is the potential for complications. For one thing, there may be a risk of excessive bleeding, infection, or injury from the procedure itself. In addition, some of the medications or material may cause allergic reactions in some people. For this reason, the physician and assisting staff should be alerted if there is any known allergy to any medication, latex, iodine, or shellfish.