An upper endoscopy (EGD) is performed by a physician and is often used to determine if a patient has an obstruction or tumor causing delayed gastric emptying rather than a neuromuscular problem such as gastroparesis. It can also identify other problems such as ulcers, gastritis, and thrush.
The patient will be instructed to not eat or drink anything after midnight the night before the test. Typically, crucial morning medications are allowed to be taken with a small sip of water.
Before the test:
It is usually necessary for the patient to arrive at the hospital 30 minutes to an hour before the test. The medical staff will review medical records, allergies, and monitor blood pressure and temperature. The patient will be placed on a heart monitor and given an IV in preparation for IV sedation. Once taken to the procedures room, the patient will then be given medication to numb the throat. Sedation medications are started and the patient is instructed to lay on his/her left side.
During the test:
After the patient is sedated, the doctor guides a scope down his/her esophagus and into the stomach. The physician will see live images on a computer screen as the scope is advanced. Pictures are also taken to review later. Biopsies are usually taken to rule out other problems. This portion of the test typically lasts 15-30 minutes.
After the test:
The patient is returned to a recovery area to be monitored until he/she is alert and able to drink sips of water or juice. Driving is restricted for 24 hours, so the patient must be accompanied by a friend or family member. It is recommended that a soft diet be followed for the remainder of the day. Common side effects include nausea, bloating, fatigue, and gas. Bleeding, fever, or pain are uncommon, but should be reported immediately.
In the case of gastroparesis, the results may show severe gastritis (inflammation of the lining of the stomach) or no peristalisis (contractions) of the stomach. It may also show undigested food from the previous day indicating delayed emptying. The EGD is also indicative of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). Biopsies taken during the procedure are evaluated to determine if there is another underlying cause or disease.