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Esophagogastroduodenoscopy

Esophagogastroduodenoscopy

Definition

An esophagogastroduodenoscopy (EGD), which is also known as an upper endoscopy or upper gastrointestinal endoscopy, is a diagnostic procedure that is performed to view the esophagus, stomach, and duodenum (part of the small intestine). In an EGD, the doctor uses an endoscope, a flexible, tube-like, telescopic instrument with a tiny camera mounted at its tip, to examine images of the upper digestive tract displayed on a monitor in the examination room. Small instruments may also be passed through the tube to treat certain disorders or to perform biopsies (remove small samples of tissue).


Purpose

An EGD is performed to evaluate, and sometimes to treat, such symptoms relating to the upper gastrointestinal tract as:

  • pain in the chest or upper abdomen
  • nausea or vomiting
  • gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
  • difficulty swallowing (dysphagia)
  • bleeding from the upper intestinal tract and related anemias

In addition, an EGD may be performed to confirm abnormalities indicated by such other diagnostic procedures as an upper gastrointestinal (upper GI) x-ray series or a CT scan. It may be used to treat certain conditions, such as an area of narrowing (stricture) or bleeding in the upper gastrointestinal tract.


Description

Upper endoscopy is considered to be more accurate than x-ray studies for detecting inflammation, ulcers, or tumors. It is used to diagnose early-stage cancer and can frequently help determine whether a growth is benign or malignant. The doctor can obtain biopsies of inflamed or suspicious tissue for examination in the laboratory by a pathologist or cytologist. Cell scrapings can also be taken by introducing a small brush through the endoscope; this technique is especially helpful in diagnosing cancer or an infection.

Besides its function as an examining tool, an endoscope has channels that permit the passage of instruments. This feature gives the physician an opportunity to treat on the spot many conditions that may be seen in the esophagus, stomach, or duodenum. These treatments may include:

  • removal of polyps and other noncancerous (benign) tissue growths
  • stretching narrowed areas (strictures) in the esophagus
  • stopping bleeding from ulcers or blood vessels
  • removing foreign objects that have been swallowed, such as coins, pins, buttons, small nails, and similar items

Some of the diseases and conditions that are investigated, identified, or treated using EGD include:

  • abdominal pain
  • achalasia, a defect in the muscular opening between the esophagus and the stomach
  • Barrett's esophagus, a precancerous condition of the cells lining the esophagus
  • Crohn's disease and inflammatory disease of the small intestine
  • esophageal cancer
  • gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), a condition caused by excess stomach acid
  • hiatal hernia
  • irritable bowel syndrome
  • rectal bleeding
  • stomach cancer
  • stomach ulcers
  • swallowing problems

An EGD procedure is usually performed by a gastroenterologist, who is a physician specializing in the diagnosis and treatment of disorders of the digestive tract. GI (gastrointestinal) assistants, operating room nurses, or technicians may be involved in the collection of samples and care of the patient. Patients will be asked to either gargle using a local anesthetic or will have an anesthetic sprayed into their mouths onto the back of the throat to numb the gag reflex. Then the endoscopist will guide the endoscope through the mouth into the upper gastrointestinal tract while the patient is lying on his or her left side. The lens or camera at the end of the instrument allows the endoscopist to examine each portion of the upper gastrointestinal tract by observing images on a monitor. Photographs are usually taken for reference. During the procedure, air is pumped in through the instrument to expand the structure that is being studied and allow better viewing. Biopsies and other procedures will be performed as needed. The patient's breathing will not be disturbed and there will be little if any discomfort. Many patients fall asleep during all or part of the procedure.

Some patients should not have an EGD. This examination is contraindicated in patients who have:

  • severe upper gastrointestinal (UGI) bleeding
  • a history of such bleeding disorders as platelet dysfunction or hemophilia
  • esophageal diverticula, which are small pouches in the esophagus that can trap food or pills and become infected
  • a suspected perforation (puncture or rupture) of the esophagus or stomach
  • recent surgery of the upper gastrointestinal tract (throat, esophagus, stomach, pyloric valve, duodenum)

An EGD is also contraindicated for those patients who are unable to cooperate fully with the procedure or whose overall condition includes a severe underlying illness that increases the risk of complications.

Diagnosis/Preparation

Certain medications (such as aspirin and the anti-inflammatory drugs called NSAIDs) should be discontinued at least seven days before an EGD to reduce the risk of bleeding. Patients will be asked not to eat or drink anything for at least six to 12 hours before the procedure to ensure that the upper intestinal tract will be empty. Before the procedure, patients may be given a sedative and/or pain medication, usually by intravenous injection.


Aftercare

After the procedure, the patient will be observed in the endoscopy suite or in a separate recovery area for an hour, or until the sedative or pain medication has worn off. Someone should be available to take the patient home and stay with them for a while. Eating and drinking should be avoided until the local anesthetic has worn off in the throat and the gag reflex has returned, which may take two to four hours. To test if the gag reflex has returned, a spoon can be placed on the back of the tongue for a few seconds with light pressure to see if the patient gags. Hoarseness and a mild sore throat are normal after the procedure; the patient can drink cool fluids or gargle to relieve the soreness.

The patient may experience some bloating, belching, and flatulence after an EGD because air is introduced into the digestive tract during the procedure. To prevent any injury to the esophagus from taking medications by mouth, patients should drink at least 4 or more ounces of liquid with any pill, and remain sitting upright for 30 minutes after taking pills that are likely to cause injury. The doctor should be notified if the patient develops a fever; difficult or painful swallowing (dysphagia); breathing difficulties; or pain in the throat, chest, or abdomen.


Risks

Endoscopy is considered a safe procedure when performed by a gastroenterologist or other medical professional with special training and experience in endoscopy. The overall complication rate of EGD performance is less than 2%; many of these complications are minor, such as inflammation of the vein through which medication is given. Serious complications can and do occur, however, with almost half being related to the heart or lungs. Bleeding or perforations are also reported, especially when tumors or strictures have been treated or biopsied. Infections have been reported, though rarely; careful attention to cleaning the instrument should prevent this complication. Perforation, which is the puncture of an organ, is very rare and can be surgically repaired if it occurs during an EGD.


Normal results

The results of the procedure or probable findings are often available to the patient prior to discharge from the endoscopy suite or the recovery area. The results of tissue biopsies or cell tests (cytology) will take from 7296 hours. Normal results will show that the esophagus, stomach and duodenum are free of strictures, ulcers or erosions, diverticula, tumors, or bleeding. Abnormal results include the presence of any of these problems, as well as esophageal infections, fissures, or tears. An increasingly common finding is medication-induced esophageal injury, caused by tablets and capsules that have lodged in the esophagus. These injuries are thought to be associated with damage to the esophageal tissue from gastrointestinal reflux disease (GERD) and the related exposure of the esophagus to large amounts of stomach acid.


Resources

books

Edmundowicz, Steven. "Endoscopy." In The Esophagus, 3rd ed., edited by Donald O. Castell and Joel E. Richter. Philadelphia, PA: Lippincott, 1999.

Pagana, Kathleen D., and Timothy J. Pagana. Diagnostic Testing and Nursing Implications, 5th ed. St. Louis, MO: Mosby, 1999.

organizations

American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy (ASGE). 13 Elm Street, Manchester, MA 01944-1314. (978) 526-8330. <www.asge.org>.

Society for Gastroenterology Nurses and Associates (SGNA). 401 North Michigan Avenue, Chicago, IL 60611-4267. (800) 245-7462. <www.sgna.org>.

other

Johns Hopkins Consumer Guide to Medical Tests. Upper Gastrointestinal Endoscopy. <www.hopkinsafter50.com>.


Maggie Boleyn, RN, BSN L. Lee Culvert

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Esophagogastroduodenoscopy

Esophagogastroduodenoscopy

Definition

An endoscope as used in the field of gastroenterology (the medical study of the stomach and intestines) is a thin, flexible tube that uses a lens or miniature camera to view various areas of the gastrointestinal tract. When the procedure is limited to the examination of the inside of the gastrointestinal tract's upper portion, it is called upper endoscopy or esphagogastroduodenoscopy (EGD). With the endoscope, the esophagus (swallowing tube), stomach, and duodenum (first portion of the small intestine) can be easily examined, and abnormalities frequently treated. Patients are usually sedated during the exam.

Purpose

EGD is performed to evaluate or treat symptoms relating to the upper gastrointestinal tract, such as:

  • upper abdominal or chest pain
  • nausea or vomiting
  • difficulty swallowing (dysphagia)
  • bleeding from the upper intestinal tract
  • anemia (low blood count ). EGD can be used to treat certain conditions, such as an area of narrowing or bleeding in the upper gastrointestinal tract

Upper endoscopy is more accurate than x rays for detecting inflammation, ulcers, or tumors. It is used to diagnose early cancer and can frequently determine whether a growth is benign (not cancerous) or malignant (cancerous).

Biopsies (small tissue samples) of inflamed or "suspicious" areas can be obtained and examined by a pathologist. Cell scrapings can also be taken by the introduction of a small brush; this helps in the diagnosis of cancer or infections.

When treating conditions in the upper gastrointestinal tract, small instruments are passed through the endoscope that can stretch narrowed areas (strictures), or remove swallowed objects (such as coins or pins). In addition, bleeding from ulcers or vessels can be treated by a number of endoscopic techniques.

Recent studies have shown the usefulness of endoscopic removal of early tumors of the esophagus or stomach. This is done either with injection of certain materials (like alcohol), or with the use of instruments (like lasers) that burn the tumor. Other techniques combining medications and lasers also show promise.

Precautions

Patients should inquire as to the doctor's expertise with these procedures, especially when therapy is the main goal. The doctor should be informed of any allergies, medication use, and medical problems.

Description

First, a "topical" (local) medication to numb the gag reflex is given either by spray or is gargled. Patients are usually sedated for the procedure (though not always) by injection of medications into a vein. The endoscopist then has the patient swallow the scope, which is passed through the upper gastrointestinal tract. The lens or camera at the end of the instrument allows the endoscopist to examine each portion of the upper gastrointestinal tract; photos can be taken for reference. Air is pumped in through the instrument to allow proper observation. Biopsies and other procedures can be performed without any significant discomfort.

Preparation

The upper intestinal tract must be empty for the procedure, so it is necessary NOT to eat or drink for at least 6-12 hours before the exam. Patients need to inquire about taking their medications before the procedure.

Aftercare

Someone should be available to take the person home after the procedure and stay with them for a while; patients will not be able to drive themselves due to sedation. Pain or any other unusual symptoms should be reported immediately.

It is important to recognize early signs of any possible complication. The doctor should be notified if the patient has fever, trouble swallowing, or increasing throat, chest, or abdominal pain.

KEY TERMS

Pathologist A doctor who specializes in the anatomic (structural) and chemical changes that occur with diseases. These doctors function in the laboratory, examining biopsy specimens, and regulating studies performed by the hospital laboratories (blood tests, urine tests, etc). Pathologists also perform autopsies.

Risks

EGD is safe and well tolerated; however, complications can occur as with any procedure. These are most often due to medications used during the procedure, or are related to endoscopic therapy. The overall complication rate of EGD is less than 2%, and many of these complications are minor (such as inflammation of the vein through which medication is given). However, serious ones can and do occur, and almost half of them are related to the heart or lungs. Bleeding or perforations (holes in the gastrointestinal tract) are also reported, especially when tumors or narrowed areas are treated or biopsied. Infections have also been rarely transmitted; improved cleaning techniques should be able to prevent them.

Resources

OTHER

"Understanding Upper Endoscopy." American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy. http://www.asge.org.

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Esophagogastroduodenoscopy

Esophagogastroduodenoscopy

Definition

An esophagogastroduodenoscopy (EGD), or upper endoscopy, is a procedure in which a camera mounted on a small flexible tube is used to view the esophagus, stomach, and duodenum (part of the small intestine ). Small instruments may also be passed through the tube to treat disorders or biopsy lesions.

Purpose

An EGD is performed to evaluate (or treat) symptoms relating to the upper gastrointestinal tract, such as:

  • upper abdominal or chest pain
  • nausea or vomiting
  • gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
  • difficulty swallowing (dysphagia)
  • anemia
  • bleeding from the upper intestinal tract

In addition, an EGD may be used to confirm abnormalities indicated by other exams, such as an upper GI series or a CT scan, or may be used to treat certain conditions, such as an area of narrowing (stricture) or bleeding in the upper gastrointestinal tract.

Upper endoscopy is more accurate than x rays for detecting inflammation, ulcers, or tumors. It is used to diagnose early cancer and can frequently determine whether a growth is benign or malignant. Biopsies (small tissue samples) of inflamed or "suspicious" areas can be obtained and examined by a pathologist. Cell scrapings can also be taken by the introduction of a small brush; this helps in the diagnosis of cancer or infections. Small instruments can be passed through the endoscope and can stretch narrowed areas or remove swallowed objects (such as coins, pins or other foreign bodies ). In addition, bleeding from ulcers or vessels can also be treated by endoscopic techniques.

Precautions

An EGD is contraindicated in patients with:

  • severe upper gastrointestinal (UGI) bleeding
  • history of bleeding disorders such as platelet dysfunction or hemophilia
  • esophageal diverticula
  • suspected perforation
  • recent UGI surgery

An EGD is also contraindicated for those patients who are unable to cooperate fully with the procedure.

Description

First, patients either gargle a local anesthetic or have one sprayed into their mouth (onto the throat) to numb the gag reflex. Patients are also usually sedated for the procedure by injection of medications into a vein. The endoscopist then has the patient swallow the scope, which is passed through the upper gastrointestinal tract. The lens or camera at the end of the instrument allows the endoscopist to examine each portion of the upper gastrointestinal tract; photos can be taken for reference. Air is pumped in through the instrument to allow proper observation. Biopsies and other procedures can also be performed.

Preparation

The upper intestinal tract must be empty for the procedure, so patients must not eat or drink anything for at least six to 12 hours before the exam.

Aftercare

Someone should be available to take the person home after the procedure and stay with them for a while; patients will not be able to drive themselves due to sedation. Pain or any other unusual symptoms should be reported immediately.

It is important to recognize early signs of any possible complication. The doctor should be notified if the patient has:

  • fever
  • trouble swallowing (dysphagia)
  • difficulty breathing (dyspnea)
  • increasing throat, chest, or abdominal pain

Complications

The overall complication rate of EGD is less than 2%, and many of these complications are minor (such as inflammation of the vein through which medication is given). However, serious complications can and do occur. Almost half of them are related to the heart or lungs. Bleeding or perforations are also reported, especially when tumors or narrowed areas are treated or biopsied. Infections have also been transmitted (rarely); careful attention to cleaning procedures should prevent this complication.

Results

Normal results show the esophagus, stomach and duodenum without any strictures, ulcers or erosions, diverticula, masses, or bleeding. Other abnormal results include esophageal infections, fissures and tears. An increasingly common finding is medicationinduced esophageal injury, caused by tablets and capsules that have lodged in the esophagus.

Health care team roles

The health care team may consist of the physician, the nurse, and others. Unlicensed assistive personnel (UAPs), such as GI assistants, GI technicians or medical technicians may have direct patient care responsibility. They are supervised by a registered nurse (RN). UAPs can assist the physician and RN during diagnostic and therapeutic procedures. The RN is responsible for the assessment of patient care needs and for determining the capability of assistive personnel to whom a task is delegated. An advanced practice nurse (APN) specializing in gastroenterology may perform a comprehensive history and physical assessment. Depending on the practice, the APN may also order and/or perform diagnostic studies. Otherwise, these tasks are performed by the physician.

Training

An APN is a nurse who has completed an advanced degree in nursing (master's or doctorate). An APN may be a nurse practitioner or a clinical nurse specialist. UAPs may receive on-the-job training in their duties.

KEY TERMS

Duodenum— The first portion of the small intestine.

Endoscope— A surgical tool used to view areas that can't be directly observed (like the esophagus or the colon).

Esophagus— The muscular canal between the throat and the stomach.

Pathologist— A doctor who specializes in the anatomic (structural) and chemical changes that occur with diseases. These doctors function in the laboratory, examining biopsy specimens, and regulating studies performed by the hospital laboratories (blood tests, urine tests, etc). Pathologists also perform autopsies.

Patient education

Instruct the patient not to eat or drink anything until the gag reflex has returned. Normally, the gag reflex will return in two to four hours after the procedure. To test if the gag reflex has returned, place a spoon on the back of the tongue for a few seconds with light pressure. If the patient does not gag, wait 15 minutes and attempt the maneuver again. Do not use small or sharp objects. Advise the patient that hoarseness and a mild sore throat are normal after the procedure. Encourage cool fluids and gargling to relieve the soreness. Because of the introduction of air during the procedure, it is normal to have some bloating, belching, and flatulence after an EGD. To prevent pill-induced esophageal injury, advise patients to drink at least 4 ounces (113 grams) of liquid with any pill, and at least 8 ounces of liquid with pills that can cause injury. Patients should remain sitting upright for 30 minutes after taking pills that are likely to cause injury.

Resources

BOOKS

Edmundowicz, Steven. "Endoscopy." In The Esophagus, 3rd edition, edited by Donald O. Castell and Joel E. Richter. Philadelphia: Lippincott, 1999, p. 89-99.

Pagana, Kathleen D., and Timothy J. Pagana. Diagnostic Testing and Nursing Implications, 5th ed. St. Louis, MO: Mosby, 1999, p. 71-72.

Young, Harvey S., and Emmet B. Keeffe. "Complications of Gastrointestinal Endoscopy." In Sleisenger and Fordtran's Gastrointestinal and Liver Disease, edited by Mark Feldman, et al. Philadelphia: W.B. Saunders Company, 1997, p. 301-309.

PERIODICALS

Macedo, G., T. Riberio, "Esophageal obstruction and endoscopic removal of a cocaine packet." American Journal of Gastroenterology 96, no. 5 (May 2001): 1656-7.

OTHER

Olympus America. 2 Corporate Center Drive, Mellville, NY 11747, (800) 848-9024.

ORGANIZATIONS

The American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy (ASGE). Thirteen Elm Street, Manchester, MA 01944-1314. (978) 526-8330. 〈http://www.asge.org〉.

Olympus America. 2 Corporate Center Drive, Mellville, NY 11747, (800) 848-9024.

The Society for Gastroenterology Nurses and Associates (SGNA). 401 North Michigan Avenue, Chicago, IL 60611-4267. (800) 245-7462. 〈http://www.sgna.org〉.

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Esophagogastroduodenoscopy

Esophagogastroduodenoscopy

Definition
Purpose
Description
Diagnosis/Preparation
Aftercare
Risks
Normal results

Definition

An esophagogastroduodenoscopy (EGD), which is also known as an upper endoscopy or upper gastrointestinal endoscopy, is a diagnostic procedure that is performed to view the esophagus, stomach, and duodenum (part of the small intestine). In an EGD, the doctor uses an endoscope, a flexible, tube-like, telescopic instrument with a tiny camera mounted at its tip, to examine images of the upper digestive tract displayed on a monitor in the examination room. Small instruments may also be passed through the tube to treat certain disorders or to perform biopsies (remove small samples of tissue).

Purpose

An EGD is performed to evaluate, and sometimes to treat, such symptoms relating to the upper gastrointestinal tract as:

  • pain in the chest or upper abdomen
  • nausea or vomiting
  • gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
  • difficulty swallowing (dysphagia)
  • bleeding from the upper intestinal tract and related anemias

In addition, an EGD may be performed to confirm abnormalities indicated by such other diagnostic procedures as an upper gastrointestinal (upper GI) x-ray series or a CT scan. It may be used to treat certain conditions, such as an area of narrowing (stricture) or bleeding in the upper gastrointestinal tract.

Description

Upper endoscopy is considered to be more accurate than x-ray studies for detecting inflammation, ulcers, or tumors. It is used to diagnose early-stage cancer and can frequently help determine whether a growth is benign or malignant. The doctor can obtain biopsies of inflamed or suspicious tissue for examination in the laboratory by a pathologist or cytologist. Cell scrapings can also be taken by introducing a small brush through the endoscope; this technique is especially helpful in diagnosing cancer or an infection.

Besides its function as an examining tool, an endoscope has channels that permit the passage of instruments. This feature gives the physician an opportunity to treat on the spot many conditions that may be seen in the esophagus, stomach, or duodenum. These treatments may include:

  • removal of polyps and other noncancerous (benign) tissue growths
  • stretching narrowed areas (strictures) in the esophagus
  • stopping bleeding from ulcers or blood vessels
  • removing foreign objects that have been swallowed, such as coins, pins, buttons, small nails, and similar items

KEY TERMS

Cytologist (cytology)— A medical technologist who specializes in preparing and examining biopsy specimens and cell specimens for changes that may indicate precancerous conditions or a specific stage of cancer.

Diverticulum (plural, diverticula)— A blind tubular sac or pouch created when the mucous tissue lining the esophagus or colon herniates through its muscular wall.

Duodenum— The first portion of the small intestine below the stomach.

Endoscope— A tube-like telescopic tool used to view areas of the body that cannot be directly observed, such as the esophagus, stomach, or colon, and to allow treatment of these areas.

Endoscopist— A physician or other medical professional highly trained in the use of the endoscope and related diagnostic and therapeutic procedures.

Esophagus— The hollow muscular tube that passes from the mouth to the stomach, carrying food and liquids to the stomach to be digested and absorbed.

Gastroenterologist— A physician who specializes in digestive disorders and diseases of the organs of the digestive tract, including the esophagus, stomach, and intestines.

Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)— A condition of excess stomach acidity in which stomach acid and partially digested food flow back into the esophagus during or after meals.

Pathologist (pathology)— A doctor who specializes in the anatomic (structural) and pathologic (disease-causing) chemical changes in the body and the related results of diagnostic testing.

Stricture— An abnormal narrowing of the esophagus or other duct or canal in the body.

Some of the diseases and conditions that are investigated, identified, or treated using EGD include:

  • abdominal pain
  • achalasia, a defect in the muscular opening between the esophagus and the stomach
  • Barrett’s esophagus, a precancerous condition of the cells lining the esophagus
  • Crohn’s disease and inflammatory disease of the small intestine
  • esophageal cancer
  • gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), a condition caused by excess stomach acid
  • hiatal hernia
  • irritable bowel syndrome
  • rectal bleeding
  • stomach cancer
  • stomach ulcers
  • swallowing problems

An EGD procedure is usually performed by a gastroenterologist, who is a physician specializing in the diagnosis and treatment of disorders of the digestive tract. GI (gastrointestinal) assistants, operating room nurses, or technicians may be involved in the collection of samples and care of the patient. Patients will be asked to either gargle using a local anesthetic or will have an anesthetic sprayed into their mouths onto the back of the throat to numb the gag reflex. Then the endoscopist will guide the endoscope through the mouth into the upper gastrointestinal tract while the patient is lying on his or her left side. The lens or camera at the end of the instrument allows the endoscopist to examine each portion of the upper gastrointestinal tract by observing images on a monitor. Photographs are usually taken for reference. During the procedure, air is pumped in through the instrument to expand the structure that is being studied and allow better viewing. Biopsies and other procedures will be performed as needed. The patient’s breathing will not be disturbed and there will be little if any discomfort. Many patients fall asleep during all or part of the procedure.

Some patients should not have an EGD. This examination is contraindicated in patients who have:

  • severe upper gastrointestinal (UGI) bleeding
  • history of such bleeding disorders as platelet dysfunction or hemophilia
  • esophageal diverticula, which are small pouches in the esophagus that can trap food or pills and become infected
  • suspected perforation (puncture or rupture) of the esophagus or stomach
  • recent surgery of the upper gastrointestinal tract (throat, esophagus, stomach, pyloric valve, duodenum)

An EGD is also contraindicated for those patients who are unable to cooperate fully with the procedure or whose overall condition includes a severe underlying illness that increases the risk of complications.

Diagnosis/Preparation

Certain medications (such as aspirin and the anti-inflammatory drugs called NSAIDs) should be discontinued at least seven days before an EGD to reduce the risk of bleeding. Patients will be asked not to eat or drink anything for at least six to 12 hours before the procedure to ensure that the upper intestinal tract will be empty. Before the procedure, patients may be given a sedative and/or pain medication, usually by intravenous injection.

Aftercare

After the procedure, the patient will be observed in the endoscopy suite or in a separate recovery area for an hour, or until the sedative or pain medication has worn off. Someone should be available to take the patient home and stay with them for a while. Eating and drinking should be avoided until the local anesthetic has worn off in the throat and the gag reflex has returned, which may take two to four hours. To test if the gag reflex has returned, a spoon can be placed on the back of the tongue for a few seconds with light pressure to see if the patient gags. Hoarseness and a mild sore throat are normal after the procedure; the patient can drink cool fluids or gargle to relieve the soreness.

The patient may experience some bloating, belching, and flatulence after an EGD because air is introduced into the digestive tract during the procedure. To prevent any injury to the esophagus from taking medications by mouth, patients should drink at least 4 or more ounces of liquid with any pill, and remain sitting upright for 30 minutes after taking pills that are likely to cause injury. The doctor should be notified if the patient develops a fever; difficult or painful swallowing (dysphagia); breathing difficulties; or pain in the throat, chest, or abdomen.

Risks

Endoscopy is considered a safe procedure when performed by a gastroenterologist or other medical professional with special training and experience in endoscopy. The overall complication rate of EGD performance is less than 2%; many of these complications are minor, such as inflammation of the vein through which medication is given. Serious complications can and do occur, however, with almost half being related to the heart or lungs. Bleeding or perforations are also reported, especially when tumors or strictures have been treated or biopsied. Infections have been reported, though rarely; careful attention to cleaning the instrument should prevent this complication. Perforation, which is the puncture of an organ, is very rare and can be surgically repaired if it occurs during an EGD.

Normal results

The results of the procedure or probable findings are often available to the patient prior to discharge from the endoscopy suite or the recovery area. The results of tissue biopsies or cell tests (cytology) will take from 72-96 hours. Normal results will show that the esophagus, stomach and duodenum are free of strictures, ulcers or erosions, diverticula, tumors, or bleeding. Abnormal results include the presence of any of these problems, as well as esophageal infections, fissures, or tears. An increasingly common finding is medication-induced esophageal injury, caused by tablets and capsules that have lodged in the esophagus. These injuries are thought to be associated with damage to the esophageal tissue from gastrointestinal reflux disease (GERD) and the related exposure of the esophagus to large amounts of stomach acid.

Resources

BOOKS

Edmundowicz, Steven. “Endoscopy.” In The Esophagus, 3rd ed., edited by Donald O. Castell and Joel E. Richter. Philadelphia, PA: Lippincott, 1999.

Pagana, Kathleen D., and Timothy J. Pagana. Diagnostic Testing and Nursing Implications, 5th ed. St. Louis, MO: Mosby, 1999.

ORGANIZATIONS

American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy (ASGE). 13 Elm Street, Manchester, MA 01944-1314. (978) 526-8330. www.asge.org.

Society for Gastroenterology Nurses and Associates (SGNA). 401 North Michigan Avenue, Chicago, IL 60611-4267. (800) 245-7462. www.sgna.org.

Maggie Boleyn, RN, BSN

L. Lee Culvert

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