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”A gastroscopy (upper GI endoscopy, esophagastroduodenoscopy, EGD) is a direct examination of the esophagus (food pipe), stomach and duodenum (first part of the small intestine) using an endoscope (a thin, flexible tube about the diameter of the little finger).”1 People who have EGDs may have conditions such as GERD, dsyphagia, abdominal pain or bleeding. The procedure may be used to diagnose visually and to obtain biopsies for further analysis.

It is a relatively simple and low risk procedure with minimal preparation before hand and minimal discomfort during and after. You have to have an empty stomach and you have to have an IV for medication. General anesthesia is not used, a conscious sedation medication such as Versed is used along with a spray that numbs the throat. You can’t drive the day of the procedure and may be a bit sleepy and you can't swallow for about an hour but otherwise life rapidly returns normal afterwards. The whole thing usually takes about 20 – 30 minutes.

Increases in the use of EGDs have corresponded with earlier diagnosis of gastric cancer, which has a very high mortality rate worldwide. Early diagnosis of cancers usually decreases mortality.

GERD is also being diagnosed and treated more frequently in recent years. Since severe or longstanding GERD is associated with a specific type of esophageal that is preceded by Barrett’s esophagus the use of EGD may actually prevent cancer by proper diagnosis and treatment of the precipitating problem.

“The British spelling of esophagus is oesophagus. Hence, GERD is GORD in many European countries. “2

1 www.imam-md.com/gastro.html
2 www.gerd.com/faq/gerd-faq.htm
3 http://www.accmed.net/osi/medspec/710066.htm

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