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Endoscopy Center in Portland, OR
An array of conditions may affect the gastrointestinal tract; the GI tract is comprised of the esophagus, stomach, and the small and large intestine. If you are experiencing symptoms involving your gut, your healthcare provider may recommend that you undergo an upper endoscopy, a procedure that uses a small camera to examine your upper digestive system, in order to determine the cause of your symptoms.
What Is an Upper Endoscopy (EGD)?
An upper endoscopy, or an EGD, is a non-surgical procedure that is used to examine the upper part of the GI tract that includes your esophagus, stomach, and proximal small intestine. This procedure is performed under sedation and involves the insertion of a long thin tube with a camera into a patient’s mouth. This tube is swallowed and the camera traverses the foregut (esophagus, stomach, and duodenum). Several conditions may be diagnosed during an endoscopy; these include peptic ulcer disease, celiac disease, tumors, and inflammation. Biopsies may also be obtained during an endoscopy.
You may undergo an endoscopy if you experience any of the following symptoms:
- Abdominal pain
- Difficulty swallowing
- Early satiety
- Heartburn not responsive to medications
- Nausea and vomiting
- Rectal bleeding
What is an ERCP?
An endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP) is another type of endoscopy that examines the foregut similar to an EGD or upper endoscopy, but is specifically performed to examine the bile duct and pancreatic duct. Clinical indications or reasons why an ERCP may be helpful include bile duct stones, bile duct infection, or jaundice. Not all board-certified gastroenterologists are trained in performing an ERCP; it is a specialized procedure conducted in a hospital setting.
EGD and ERCP Prep
Your exact instructions will depend on the type of endoscopy (EGD or an ERCP) that is scheduled. For more detailed instructions, please visit our endoscopy preparation page. We ask that you bring a list of all current medications you are taking, including over-the-counter medications, to the office on the day of your endoscopy.
EGD and ERCP Procedures
Before an upper endoscopy or ERCP is performed, you will meet with an anesthesia provider and have an intravenous (IV) catheter placed in a vein. You will receive sedation medications through the IV to induce temporary sleepiness and comfort during the procedure. Your heart rate, blood pressure, and breathing are monitored during the procedure and while you are sedated. After you are adequately and safely under sedation, the physician will then insert the endoscope into your mouth and advance it into your upper GI tract. If you are undergoing an ERCP, an X-ray will also be performed to examine your pancreatic and bile ducts.
After the endoscopy, your healthcare provider will discuss the findings of the examination with you. If you received sedation, you are not allowed to drive or return to work that day.
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Frequently Asked Questions
What Is an Endoscope?
An endoscope is a thin, flexible tube with a camera attached to one end. In this section, an endoscope refers to an upper endoscopy (EGD or esophagogastroduodenoscopy) or an ERCP (endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography). These two procedures involve examination of the upper gastrointestinal tract.
What Can an Upper Endoscopy or an ERCP Detect?
An upper endoscopy or an EGD can help detect ulcers, celiac disease, and tumors. An ERCP can evaluate the bile duct and the pancreatic duct, remove bile duct stones, and in some cases, relieve jaundice or biliary obstruction.
Is an Upper Endoscopy Safe?
An EGD and an ERCP are safe procedures, but rare complications like bleeding, infection, perforation, or cardiopulmonary issues with sedation. Pancreatitis is a complication unique to an ERCP, but is rare (< 5%).