Upper GI Endoscopy/ EGD

What is upper gastrointestinal (GI) endoscopy?

Upper GI endoscopy also as known as a gastroscopy or a EGD is a procedure in which a doctor uses an endoscope (a long, flexible tube with a camera) to view the lining of your upper gastrointestinal tract. 

Why do doctors use upper GI endoscopy?

Upper GI endoscopy can help find the cause of unexplained symptoms, such as:

• persistent heartburn

• bleeding

• nausea and vomiting

• pain

• problems swallowing

• unexplained weight loss

Upper GI endoscopy can also find the cause of abnormal lab tests, such as:

• anemia

• nutritional deficiencies

Upper GI endoscopy can identify many different diseases:

• anemia

• gastroesophageal reflux disease

• ulcers

• cancer

• inflammation, or swelling

• precancerous abnormalities

• celiac disease

During upper GI endoscopy, a doctor obtains biopsies by passing an instrument through the endoscope to obtain a small piece of tissue.

Biopsies are needed to diagnose conditions such as:

• cancer

celiac disease


Doctors also use upper GI endoscopy to:

• treat conditions such as bleeding ulcers

• dilate strictures with a small balloon passed through the endoscope

remove objects, including food, that may be stuck in the upper GI tract

How do I prepare for an upper GI endoscopy?

For specific instructions on how to prepare for your gastroscopy, refer to the link at the bottom of this page

How do doctors perform an upper GI endoscopy?

A doctor performs an upper GI endoscopy in a day surgery setting (TBRHSC -3rd floor Endoscopy Unit). An intravenous (IV) needle will be placed in your arm to provide a sedative. Sedatives help you stay relaxed and comfortable during the procedure. In some cases, the procedure can be performed without sedation. You will be given a liquid anesthetic to gargle or spray anesthetic on the back of your throat. The anesthetic numbs your throat and calms the gag reflex. The health care staff will monitor your vital signs and keep you as comfortable as possible.

You’ll be asked to lie on your side on an exam table. The doctor will carefully feed the endoscope down your esophagus and into your stomach and duodenum. A small camera mounted on the endoscope will send a video image to a monitor, allowing close examination of the lining of your upper GI tract. The endoscope pumps air into your stomach and duodenum, making them easier to see.

During the upper GI endoscopy, the doctor may:

 perform a biopsy of tissue in your upper GI tract, however you won’t feel the biopsy.

stop any bleeding.

perform other specialized procedures, such as dilating strictures.

The procedure most often takes between 15 and 30 minutes. The endoscope does not interfere with your breathing, and many people fall asleep during the procedure.

What should I expect from an upper GI endoscopy?

After an upper GI endoscopy, you can expect the following:

• to stay at the hospital for 1 to 2 hours after the procedure so the sedative can wear off

bloating or nausea for a short time after the procedure

a sore throat for 1 to 2 days to go back to your normal diet once your swallowing has returned to normal

to rest at home for the remainder of the day

Some results from an upper GI endoscopy are available right away after the procedure. After the sedative has worn off, the doctor will share these results with you or, if you choose, with your friend or family member.   A pathologist will examine the biopsy tissue once the results become available your surgeon will call you  or schedule an appointment to go over the results. 

What are the risks of an upper GI endoscopy?

The risks of an upper GI endoscopy include:

• bleeding from the site where the doctor took the biopsy or removed a polyp

perforation in the lining of your upper GI tract

an abnormal reaction to the sedative, including respiratory or cardiac problems

Seek Care Right Away

If you have any of the following symptoms after an upper GI endoscopy, seek medical care right away:

• chest pain

problems breathing

problems swallowing or throat pain that gets worse

vomiting—particularly if your vomit is bloody or looks like coffee grounds

pain in your abdomen that gets worse

bloody or black, tar-colored stool


Click below for instructions for your upper GI endoscopy

Gastroscopy prep