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Upper GI Endoscopy

Upper GI endoscopy allows your doctor to look directly into the beginning of your gastrointestinal (GI) tract. The esophagus, stomach, and duodenum (the first part of the small intestine) make up the upper GI tract.

Outline of human head and chest with head turned to side. Cross section of esophagus leading from mouth to stomach is shown. Stomach ends at duodenum, first part of small intestine. Endoscope is inserted through mouth, esophagus, and stomach and ends in duodenum.
During endoscopy, a long, flexible tube is used to view the inside of your upper GI tract.

Before the Exam

Follow these and any other instructions you are given before your endoscopy. If you don’t follow the doctor’s instructions carefully, the test may need to be cancelled or done over:

  • Do not eat or drink anything after midnight the night before your exam. If your exam is in the afternoon, drink only clear liquids in the morning, and do not eat or drink anything for 8 hours before the exam.

  • Bring your X-rays and any other test results you have.

  • Because you will be sedated, arrange for an adult to drive you home after the exam.

  • Tell your health care provider before the exam if you are taking any medications or have any medical problems.

The Procedure

  • You will be asked to lie on the endoscopy table.

  • Your throat may be numbed with a spray or gargle. You are given medication through an intravenous (IV) line that will help you relax and remain comfortable. You may be awake or asleep during the procedure.

  • The doctor will inset the endoscope into your mouth and down your esophagus. It is thinner than most pieces of food that you swallow. It will not affect your breathing. The medication helps keep you from gagging.

  • Air is inserted to expand your GI tract. It can make you burp.

  • The endoscope carries images of your upper GI tract to a video screen. If you are awake, you may be able to look at the images.

  • After the procedure is done, you will rest for a time. An adult must drive you home.

Call your doctor

Contact your doctor if you have:

  • Black or tarry stools; blood in your stool

  • Fever

  • Persistent pain in your abdomen

Online Medical Reviewer: Dozier, Tennille, RN, BSN, RDMS
Online Medical Reviewer: MMI board-certified, academically affiliated clinician
Last Review Date: 3/15/2014
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