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Upper Endoscopy (EGD)


This guide is for patients who are going to have an upper endoscopy, also called esophagogastroduodenoscopy or EGD. It answers some of the most commonly asked questions about upper endoscopy (EGD). Please don't hesitate to ask your doctor or nurse for more information.

What is an EGD?

An EGD is a procedure involving the use of an endoscope, a lighted, flexible tube about the thickness of your finger. The doctor will pass the tube through the mouth to the back of the throat into the esophagus, stomach, and duodenum (the first part of the small intestine). The procedure checks for ulcers and other abnormalities. If necessary, an instrument can be passed through the tube to take a small piece of tissue (a biopsy) for examination in the laboratory. Biopsies are done for many reasons and don't necessarily imply cancer.

Preparing for your procedure

Because you will be sedated, you will not be able to drive after your EGD. You MUST arrange for a responsible adult (over 18) who can drive or otherwise accompany you to and from the endoscopy unit. Your procedure cannot begin until a responsible adult driver is in the unit. This person should remain in the unit during your entire visit so that they are available as soon as you are ready to be discharged. You will not be discharged unless this person is in the unit. Because your judgment may be impaired after this procedure, you will not be released to take public transportation, a taxicab, or even walk home without another responsible adult present to accompany you.

Please contact your primary care physician or insurance company if prior referral is needed.

The procedure will take about 30 minutes, but expect the visit to the endoscopy unit to last two to three (2–3) hours to allow for preparation and recovery.

You may have your normal diet the day before the procedure. Do not eat any solid food or drink any non-clear liquids, such as milk or orange juice, for six (6) hours before your scheduled appointment time. You may drink clear liquids such as water or black coffee up to two (2) hours before your procedure. Take your usual medicines with a few sips of water no later than four (4) hours before your appointment. If you are taking pain medicine, you may do so up to four (4) hours before your procedure.

If you are taking any anticoagulant medicines (blood thinners), including aspirin or nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs, please tell the doctor who ordered your procedure. Your medicine may need to be adjusted the week before your procedure.

If a dilation or polyp removal is planned during your procedure you should not take antiplatelet medicine for one (1) week before your appointment as this type of medicine may increase bleeding.

Here are the names of some common antiplatelet medicines:

Be sure to tell the doctor who ordered your procedure if you are taking Coumadin or other blood thinners. You will need special instructions.

If you have an implanted cardiac defibrillator (ICD), please call 734-936-9250 (option 1) as soon as possible with the ICD name and manufacturer.

The day of the procedure – important information

1. Your procedure is scheduled for:

Date:______________________ Time:________________________

If you are unable to keep your appointment, please call the endoscopy scheduling center at 734-936-9250 (option 1) as soon as possible.

2. A map guiding you to the endoscopy unit where your procedure will be performed has been mailed to you or you may find it online; click on this link. If you are not sure where your procedure is scheduled, call the endoscopy scheduling center at 734-936-9250 (option 1).

3. Please bring the following with you on the day of your procedure:

Your procedure will not begin until the nursing staff speaks with the responsible adult who will take you home. You will not be discharged until this person is in the unit to escort you from the endoscopy unit. You will not be able to drive for at least 12 hours.

4. If you have diabetes and take oral diabetes medicine (pills): Do not take the medicine the morning of your procedure. Bring your diabetes medicine with you.

5. If you have diabetes and take insulin: On the morning of your procedure, take half (½) of your usual dose of long-acting insulin. Long-acting insulins include NPH, Humulin N, Humulin 70/30, Humalog Mix 75/25, Lantus, and Levemir. If you take Humulin R 500 insulin, take only half (½) of your usual dose. Do not take short-acting insulin the morning of the procedure. Short-acting insulins include Regular, Humulin R, and Novolin R. Take the other half (½) of your long-acting insulin and any regularly scheduled dose of short-acting insulin right after the procedure. Be sure to eat your usual meal at that time. Please review the handout Instructions for Patients with Diabetes Having Outpatient Procedures/Tests, which the ordering doctor will give you. You can find this handout online; click on this link Instructions for Patients with Diabetes Having Outpatient Procedures/Tests.

6. Please leave jewelry at home.

7. Small children will be more comfortable at home.

The procedure

In the reception area or the preparation area you will answer questions about your health history, current medicines, and allergies. You will sign a consent form. After you change into a hospital gown, a nurse will start an intravenous (IV) line. The IV line is used to give you medicine to make you more comfortable during the procedure. The procedure is performed in a room specially designed for endoscopic procedures. Equipment that will help the nurse and doctor monitor your heartbeat and breathing will be connected to you. Your throat will be numbed with a spray and you will be sedated before the doctor passes the tube through your mouth into your stomach. You will be able to breathe normally and burp if needed during the procedure. There usually is no pain associated with this procedure, even if a biopsy is done.

Potential complications

Complications are extremely rare. However, there are potential complications associated with all medical procedures. These will be explained to you at the time you sign your consent form for the procedure.

Your doctor

A doctor specially trained in gastrointestinal procedures will perform the procedure. The doctor who ordered your procedure will make decisions regarding your plan of care.


After your procedure you will be taken to the recovery area. One adult person who came with you to your procedure may join you there, if you wish. When you are ready to go home the nurse will review your discharge instructions with you and answer your questions. You will be given a summary of findings from your procedure. You may NOT drive yourself home. Be sure to bring a responsible adult licensed driver with you. A responsible adult must be with you when you are discharged from the recovery area. You may want a family member or friend to stay with you for the rest of the day.

At-home instructions

You will be given specific written instructions about resuming your activity, medicines, and diet.

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UMHS Medical Procedures Unit - October 2012