What is EGD?
EGD stands for esophagogastrodudenoscopy and it pertains to a visual inspection of the esophagus, the stomach and upper duodenum. The procedure is done by inserting a flexible endoscope down the throat. An endoscope is a small camera that functions as a tool to examine the internal organs.
When undergoing EGD, a patient will be sedated and given an analgesic or pain killer. The patient will not be aware of the pain and will forget about the procedure. Spraying local anaesthetic into the mouth will aid in suppressing the need to cough of gag as the endoscope passes through the throat. To protect the teeth from the endoscope, a mouth guard is placed and dentures are removed. Oftentimes, an intravenous fluid is administered during the medication procedures.
Before the application of the sedative a patient will be instructed to lie on his or her left side. The sedative will be given time to bring its effect. When the sedative is already taking effect, the endoscope will be inserted through the food pipe. The endoscope is advanced until it passes through the stomach and until it reaches the duodenum.
Before undergoing EGD, a patient will be compelled to fast overnight. This means no food intake for about 6 to 12 hours before the examination. The patient will be made to sign an informed consent. Patients who are taking blood thinning prescriptions or aspirin may also be required to refrain from taking such medications.
With EGD, the esophagus, stomach and duodenum linings are examined. The endoscope is capable of taking biopsies by retrieving tissue samples that will be examined later under a microscope. Biopsies are usually done to determine if cancer is present. With EGD, some other treatments may be executed. For example, a narrow area of the esophagus can be stretched or widened through EGD. After the administration of EGD, food and drinks cannot be taken by the patient. This is due to the reason that the patient loses his or her gag reflexes after EGD. This means patient is more likely to choke so enough time must be given to have the gag reflexes go back to its normal state.
The test will actually be very discomforting. However, any discomfort will not be felt by the patient due to the anaesthetic applied. On the other hand, swallowing may be difficult during and after the test. This is due to the local anaesthetic but it subsides before long after the test. Gagging is stimulated in the back of the throat because of the endoscope insertion. Gas sensation will also be felt and as well as the movement of the endoscope in the stomach. However, a patient will not feel the biopsy procedure due to the intravenous sedation.
As mentioned earlier, the patient will not feel any pain and may also not remember anything about the procedure. This is because of the intravenous sedation has taken effect. As the patient wake up after the procedure, a bloated feeling may be experienced due to the air introduced through the endoscope. The air helps the doctor to have a clearer view as the endoscope takes images of the patient’s internal organs.