"We treat people, not just problems."
John L. Pfenninger, M.D.
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What is an EGD?
EGD stands for esophagogastroduodenoscopy. This is a well-tolerated procedure, and generally has few complications. If you have any questions after reading this information, please talk with your physician.
This procedure involves passing a lighted flexible instrument through your mouth, down the swallowing tube (esophagus), into the stomach, and into the first portion of your small intestine (duodenum). The instrument is something like an eye on the end of a long finger. The doctor will be looking for inflammation, ulcers, growths, bleeding points, or hiatal hernia. The doctor looks at the inside lining of the esophagus, stomach, and duodenum as the scope passes along. He may take small bits of tissues, called biopsies, from and areas that do not appear to be completely normal. This is a painless procedure. Biopsies will also be done to evaluate for infection (CLO test). He may also take scrapings from the lining so that the laboratory may examine the cells for signs of disease. The doctor may use a camera that is adapted to taking pictures through the scope – this enables him to take photographs of both normal and abnormal areas of the upper gastrointestinal tract.
The actual testing time takes between 15 and 30 minutes. However, you should count on being in the office for approximately one to two hours. This time includes the pre-procedural time, the examination itself, recovery time, and conference time with the doctor after all is completed.
What preparation is required?
The stomach should be empty, so please do not eat anything after midnight the day of the procedure. Get a good night’s sleep, and be reassured about this procedure. Your routine medications should be taken first thing in the morning unless your doctor tells you differently, or unless the procedure is scheduled for the morning. A responsible adult should drive you to the examination and take you home, because you will be given medication to help you relax. These medications can make you drowsy.
What should I expect during the procedure?
You will take an oral medication at home to help you relax for the procedure. On arrival, you will be given a nasal spray medication, and a liquid to numb your throat. You will have a heart and oxygen monitoring device placed on your skin. You will be placed in a comfortable position on your left side throughout the procedure. The endoscope is passed through the mouth to examine the parts of your body as mentioned above. You will not be put to sleep.
Many patients rest during the procedure and it is well tolerated. The scope will not interfere with breathing, and gagging is usually prevented or limited by the topical anesthetic. If you have significant discomfort, the procedure will be stopped. We will then give additional medications if needed. An IV may be started to accomplish a comfort level for you.
What happens after the EGD?
You will be allowed to rest and be monitored for a brief period after the examination. Your physician will then go over the findings and results of the procedure.
We ask you to avoid alcoholic beverages for at least eight hours after the procedure. Notify us if you are taking any tranquilizers. Otherwise, you may resume your normal diet as soon as the procedure is completed, after the numbing medicine wears off from the throat. You should not drive that day. Call our office in two weeks if we have not notified you of your biopsy results.
Are there any problems I should look for?
EGD is an extremely safe procedure, but complications have been reported by some physicians. Complications are rare, but if you have any dizziness, fever, chest pain, black stools, or vomit blood, please call immediately. Although we try hard, we can still miss a diagnosis. If your symptoms persist, please contact us or your doctor and keep us informed of your problems.
You should also receive a small pamphlet from the receptionist describing the procedure. Ask her for one if you haven’t received it.