Esophagogastroduodenoscopy (EGD) is a mouthful of a word to say, but a relatively simple procedure to have done. The EGD procedure uses an endoscope – a long, flexible tube with a camera on the end – to look inside the upper GI tract and often take a biopsy of the tissue. This includes the esophagus, stomach and first portion of the small intestine.
An EGD is also called an upper endoscopy. It is similar to a lower endoscopy, which is more commonly known as a colonoscopy.
What is your provider looking for?
“We are looking for changes in the lining of the GI tract. This includes signs of inflammation, swelling, irritation, redness, ulcers or wounds. An endoscopy will also help us diagnose abnormalities, like a severe narrowing,” said Dr. Andrea Gosalvez-Tejada, Marshfield Clinic Health System pediatric gastroenterologist. “Sometimes when we perform an EGD, it can look normal to our eyes. But it is very important to have a pathologist look at tissue samples from our biopsies under the microscope. They can see it in more detail and it helps us understand if there is inflammation, bacterial infections or other changes that we might not be able to see otherwise.”
From an esophagogastroduodenoscopy, your doctor may be able to diagnose issues such as an eosinophilic esophagitis, a chronic immune system disease; esophageal fungal infection; gastritis; H. pylori, a bacterial infection; or celiac disease.
Who gets an EGD?
Your doctor may recommend an EGD if you have difficulties swallowing, abdominal pain, persistent vomiting or abnormal labs that might indicate the need for the endoscopy, including an elevated celiac screen.
“When indicated, patients of all ages can undergo an EGD including infants, toddlers, adolescents and adults,” said Dr. Gosalvez-Tejada.
Dr. Gosalvez-Tejada said that an EGD is also used as a therapeutic procedure to stop bleeding from an ulcer or enlarged veins. It can also be used to dilate or stretch the esophagus when narrowed or place a feeding tube.
What to expect
EGDs are safe, common procedures. They typically last around 15 minutes and patients often tolerate the procedure well.
Most patients, especially children, are sedated during the procedure. At Marshfield Clinic Health System, all pediatric patients are accompanied throughout the process by a Child Life specialist that helps them understand the procedure and each step. They help decrease anxiety and fear by providing distraction tools to help make this a positive experience.
After an esophagogastroduodenoscopy, you are able to go home as soon as you are able to drink by mouth. You should be able to go back to normal life by the next day. The most common side effects of the procedure include a sore throat or mild pain, but they usually go away within a day or two.
For more information about EGDs, talk to your provider.