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What is an upper gastrointestinal (UGI) endoscopy?

The upper gastrointestinal (GI) tract is the site of many disorders, usually related to diet, environment and heredity. These disorders can develop into a variety of diseases or symptoms, which can be diagnosed with a procedure called an upper GI endoscopy or EGD (esophagogastroduodenoscopy).

By visually examining the upper intestinal tract using a lighted, flexible endoscope, gastroenterologists can diagnose:
  • ulcers, which can develop in the esophagus, stomach, or duodenum;
  • tumors of the stomach or esophagus;
  • difficulty in swallowing;
  • upper abdominal pain or indigestion;
  • intestinal bleeding;
  • esophagitis and heartburn, a chronic inflammation of the esophagus due to reflux of stomach acid and digestive juices; and
  • gastritis, an inflammation of the lining of the stomach.
During an EGD, other instruments can be passed through the endoscope to perform additional procedures if needed. These procedures could include a biopsy, in which a small tissue specimen is obtained for microscopic analysis, or removal of a polyp or tumor using a thin wire snare and electrocautery (electrical heat).

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.