An upper endoscopy (esophagagastroduodenoscopy or EGD) is a test that allows your child’s doctor to look directly inside the esophagus, stomach and the first part of the small intestine (duodenum). A narrow, flexible tube called an endoscope equipped with a camera and a light is used to examine the lining of the upper part of the digestive tract.
An upper endoscopy is used to figure out the cause of symptoms such as:
- Abdominal pain
- Gastroesophageal reflux
- Slow growth
- Trouble growing
- Trouble swallowing
An upper endoscopy is also used to perform certain procedures, including:
- Biopsy (taking small tissue samples for examination under a microscope)
- Dilation of strictures (abnormal narrowing)
- Removal of food and foreign bodies such as coins that get stuck in the digestive tract
The upper endoscopy test takes between 15 and 30 minutes to perform. You should plan to spend several hours at the hospital or outpatient center to allow for preparations before the procedure and for the time it takes your child to wake up after the test.
Upper endoscopy procedures at Riley at IU Health are performed under anesthesia in an endoscopy suite. Once your child is asleep, the endoscope is passed through the mouth, down the esophagus, through the stomach and into the small intestine. Your child’s doctor may take pictures and tissue samples during the procedure.
After the procedure, your child will be moved to a recovery room and allowed to fully awaken. Once your child is fully awake and able to drink liquids, he or she will be allowed to go home.
What to Expect
What to Expect
On the day of your child’s upper endoscopy test:
- Your child should not eat or drink anything the morning of the test.
- When you arrive at the hospital or outpatient center, you and your child will meet with your child’s doctor.
- The pediatric gastroenterologist will talk with you and your child to answer your questions and discuss the upper endoscopy test.
- Your child will change into a hospital gown.
- An anesthesiologist will meet with you to determine the best anesthesia medicine for your child.
- A medicine may be given to help your child relax.
- Your child will be taken to an operating room or an endoscopy suite.
- Upper endoscopy is performed under general anesthesia so that your child will not feel any pain.
- Your child’s heart rate, blood pressure, respiratory rate and oxygen level will be monitored during the procedure.
- A mouth guard may be placed in your child’s mouth to prevent biting down on the endoscope and to protect the teeth.
- The endoscope will be passed from the mouth, down the esophagus through the stomach and into the small intestine.
- The doctor may take pictures of the lining in the digestive track.
- The doctor may take one or more tissue samples (biopsies) to better examine areas of inflammation.
- When the examination is complete, the endoscope is removed.
Immediately after the upper endoscopy:
- Your child will be taken to the recovery room where his or her vital signs will be monitored.
- Nurses continue to check blood pressure, pulse and breathing rates until they return to normal.
- After your child is fully awake, he or she will be brought back to you and will be given liquids to drink.
- The doctor will discuss what was seen during the exam and may show you photos.
- The doctor may recommend medicines for your child.
- Your child can go home once he or she is able to drink normally.
- Some children may feel sick after the test and will be watched for a longer amount of time.
- The total time spent at the hospital depends on the testing and the amount of time it takes for your child to wake up.
- It is best to expect to spend between four and five hours at the hospital.
Once you and your child return home, you should follow these guidelines:
- Sore throat. Your child may have a sore throat for a day or two after the test. If the sore throat does not go away or gets worse, call the doctor.
- Bleeding. Spitting up small amounts of blood may be normal. If there is more than a spoonful of blood or if it lasts longer than one day, let the doctor know.
- Abdominal pain. If pain in the abdomen lasts for more than an hour, you should talk with your child’s doctor.
- Throwing up. To prevent frequent vomiting, make sure your child drinks small amounts of beverages such as Sprite or ginger ale and eats popsicles.
- Persistent fevers. If a fever lasts for more than a day or comes and goes, talk to your child’s doctor.
Key Points to Remember
Key Points to Remember
- An upper endoscopy is a test that lets a doctor see the inside of the esophagus, stomach and upper small intestine.
- The test is performed with a flexible tube called an endoscope that is equipped with a camera and a light.
- Upper endoscopy is used to diagnose symptoms such as abdominal pain, acid reflux, diarrhea, vomiting and problems with swallowing and growing.
- Your child will be asleep during the test, which takes between 15 and 30 minutes.
- Your child can go home a few hours after the test, when he or she is fully awake.
In addition to our primary hospital location at the Academic Health Center in Indianapolis, IN, we have convenient locations to better serve our communities throughout the state.
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