What is upper gastrointestinal (GI) endoscopy (Gastroscopy or OGD) ?

Upper GI endoscopy is a procedure that uses a flexible endoscope with a strong light source to examine the upper gastrointestinal tract. The upper GI tract includes the esophagus, stomach, and duodenum—the first part of the small intestine.

What problems can upper GI endoscopy detect?

Upper GI endoscopy can detect


Oesophagitis-caused by acid reflux


Pre-cancerous conditions such as Barrett’s

Inflammation such as Crohn’s disease

Hiatus hernia

Malabsorptive conditions such as Coeliac Disease (villous atrophy)


When is upper GI endoscopy used?

Upper GI endoscopy is an extremely important diagnostic procedure that can be used to determine the cause of

Abdominal pain



Swallowing difficulties

Acid reflux or heartburn

Unexplained weight loss

Iron deficiency anaemia

Bleeding in the upper GI tract


Upper GI endoscopy can be used to remove stuck objects, including food, and to treat conditions such as bleeding ulcers. It can also be used to biopsy tissue in the upper GI tract. During a biopsy, a small piece of tissue is removed for later examination with a microscope.

How to Prepare for Upper GI Endoscopy

The upper GI tract must be empty before upper GI endoscopy. Generally, no eating or drinking is allowed for 4 to 8 hours before the procedure. Smoking and chewing gum are also prohibited during this time.

Patients should tell their doctor about all health conditions they have—especially heart and lung problems, diabetes, and allergies— and all medications they are taking. Patients may be asked to temporarily stop taking medications that affect blood clotting or interact with sedatives, which are often given during upper GI endoscopy.

Medications and vitamins that may be restricted before and after upper GI endoscopy include;

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as aspirin, ibuprofen and naproxen anticoagulants

Blood pressure medications

Diabetes medications



Driving is not permitted for 12 to 24 hours after upper GI endoscopy to allow sedatives time to completely wear off. Before the appointment, patients should make plans for a ride home.

How is upper GI endoscopy performed?

Upper GI endoscopy is usually performed as a daycare procedure

Patients may receive a local anesthetic spray to the back of the throat. The anesthetic numbs the throat and calms the gag reflex. An intravenous (IV) needle is placed in a vein in the arm if a sedative will be given. A sedative (usually midazolam) help patients stay relaxed and comfortable. While patients are sedated, the doctor and medical staff monitor oxygen levels and heart rate.

During the procedure, patients lie on their side. A gastroscope is passed smoothly through the open mouth to the back of the throat and then down the esophagus and into the stomach and duodenum. Tiny fibre optic cables relay image information to the processor, which provides a real time image for the endoscopist on a video monitor, allowing close examination of the intestinal lining. Air is pumped through the endoscope to inflate the stomach and duodenum, A small channel in the endoscope allows the endoscopist to perform biopsies, stop bleeding, and remove abnormal growths.

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