Center for Digestive Diseases

UNM Hospitals Center
for Digestive Diseases

Address:
1001 Martin Luther King Ave. NE
Albuquerque, New Mexico 87106

Appointments:
(505)272-2530 or
(505)925-6000

Facsimile:
UNMH: (505)272-6839
CDD: (505)925-7849

Upper Endoscopy


What is upper endoscopy?

Upper endoscopy (EGD; esophagogastroduodenoscopy) is an outpatient procedure that allows your doctor to examine the lining of your esophagus, stomach and duodenum (first portion of the small intestine). Your doctor will use a thin, flexible tube called an endoscope, which has a camera and light.


Why is upper endoscopy performed?

Upper endoscopy helps your doctor evaluate abdominal pain, anemia, nausea, vomiting, difficulty swallowing or rule out celiac disease.  Upper endoscopy is also performed to screen for and survey barrett’s esophagus and to screen for varices of the esophagus in patients with cirrhosis.  It's the best test for evaluating the cause of bleeding from the stomach or the first portion of the small intestine. It is the most accurate test for detecting inflammation, ulcers and tumors of the esophagus, stomach and duodenum.


What preparation is required?

An empty stomach allows for the best and safest examination.  Therefore, you should have nothing to eat or drink for six hours before your procedure.  If you have any questions about dietary recommendations, please call our endoscopy center at 505-925-6000.


Procedure Preparation Instructions


Can I take my current medications?

Most medications can be continued as usual, but some medications should be stopped. Tell your doctor about your medications and your allergies.  If there are any medications that you are not sure about taking, please consult your doctor beforehand or call our endoscopy center at 505-925-6000.


What happens during upper endoscopy?

Upper endoscopy is an outpatient procedure that is well tolerated and many patients fall asleep during the procedure. You will receive intravenous sedation to help you relax and make you comfortable during the procedure.  A registered nurse will monitor you for safety during the entire procedure.  You will lie on your side while the doctor slowly inserts a thin flexible endoscope through your mouth and advances the endoscope to the first part of your small intestine.  The doctor will examine the lining again as he or she slowly withdraws the endoscope. Biopsy through the endoscope may be performed during your procedure to help your doctor distinguish between benign (non-cancerous) and cancerous conditions.  Narrowing in the esophagus or stomach may be treated with dilation during upper endoscopy.  There are no nerve endings in the lining of your gastrointestinal tract and biopsy or dilation will not be painful. The procedure does not interfere with your breathing. The procedure itself usually takes approximately 10 minutes, although you should plan to be at our endoscopy center for approximately three hours. This will include the registration, preparation, procedure and recovery.


What happens after upper endoscopy?

The doctor will explain the results to you.  If biopsies were performed, your doctor will send you a letter with those results within 1-2 weeks. Due to the use of sedatives during your procedure someone will need to drive you home from the endoscopy center and stay with you. Even if you feel alert, your reflexes and judgment may be impaired. You will not be able to work for the rest of the day. In most cases you will be able to eat after the examination, but occasionally the doctor will recommend a limited diet.


What are possible complications of upper endoscopy?

Upper endoscopy is generally safe when performed by a gastroenterologist trained and experienced in these procedures. Complications are rare.  Possible complications include perforation or tear of the gastrointestinal tract, bleeding, reactions to the sedatives or complications of heart of lung disease.  If perforation occurs your doctor will recommend hospitalization, antibiotics and possibly surgery.  Bleeding usually stops on its own or can be controlled during the endoscopy. You will be monitored by a registered nurse throughout the procedure for any problems with sedation, breathing or heart problems.  Contact your doctor if you notice severe chest pain, abdominal pain, fever, chills, vomiting or passage of dark tarry stools. Note that bleeding can occur several days after the procedure. This bleeding can usually be controlled with repeat upper endoscopy.


Dedicated Specialists in this procedure:

Dr. Joseph Alcorn
Dr. Sanjeev Arora
Dr. Michael Gavin
Dr. Michael Gilles
Dr. Martin Kistin
Dr. Thomas Ma
Dr. Gulshan Parasher
Dr. Arun Pillai
Dr. Trent Taylor

Upper Endoscopy Procedure