Upper GI Endoscopy

An upper GI endoscopy (EGD) examines the lining of the esophagus, stomach and upper duodenum for inflammation, ulcers or growths. With a small camera, called an endoscope, doctors can evaluate you for trouble swallowing, abdominal pain or bleeding.

The exam:

  • Usually lasts 5 to 20 minutes
  • May cause discomfort during and after

The Upper GI Procedure

Your doctor may give you liquid or spray medicine to numb your throat, as well as a sedative through an IV with oxygen to help you relax.

You will lie on your left side with a mouthpiece in place to keep your mouth open. The doctor will move the endoscope carefully and slowly down your throat, through your esophagus and into your stomach and intestine.

As this happens, your doctor may send air through the scope to enhance the view of your digestive tissue. Tiny tools may take biopsies or do other tests.


 Possible complications, while rare, may include:

  • Bleeding
  • Damage to the esophagus, stomach or intestine
  • Infection
  • Reduced breathing 
  • Reaction to sedatives or anesthesia

After the test, call your doctor if any of the following occur:

  • Signs of infection, including fever and chills
  • Severe abdominal pain
  • Hard, swollen abdomen
  • Difficulty swallowing or breathing
  • Any change or increase in your original symptoms
  • Bloody or black tarry colored stools
  • Nausea and/or vomiting
  • Cough, shortness of breath or chest pain
  • Bleeding

In case of an emergency, call for medical help right away.