Upper gastrointestinal endoscopy is a procedure that allows the doctor to visually examine the upper portions of the gastrointestinal tract, using a flexible tool called an endoscope. The endoscope has a light source and projects an image on a video screen. An endoscope may also be used to assist with other diagnostic exams and procedures. For instance, an ultrasound probe can be placed on the end of the endoscope to evaluate how deeply a tumor has penetrated the esophagus or wall of the stomach. An endoscope may be used to assist with placement of a permanent feeding tube or to treat a bleeding ulcer.
An upper gastrointestinal endoscopy aids in the investigation of the source of pain, difficulty swallowing, bleeding or other symptoms of an upper abdominal problem. During an endoscopy the doctor can obtain samples of tissue for biopsy, to check for the presence of cancer cells or the bacteria responsible for most stomach ulcers. Various instruments can be passed through the endo-scope to treat problems, such as controlling bleeding due to an ulcer. The procedure may be performed on patients who have had stomach surgery to assess for cancer or the return of an ulcer. It may also be used to monitor patients at high risk for upper gastrointestinal cancers.
Debra Wood R.N., The Gale Group Inc., Gale, Detroit,