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Upper Gastrointestinal Endoscopy

How To Prepare

Before having an upper gastrointestinal endoscopy, tell your doctor if you:

  • Are allergic to any medicines, including anesthetics.
  • Are taking any medicines.
  • Have bleeding problems or take blood-thinning medicine, such as warfarin (Coumadin).
  • Have heart problems.
  • Are or might be pregnant.
  • Have diabetes and take insulin.
  • Have had surgery or radiation treatments to your esophagus, stomach, or the upper part of your small intestine.

Do not eat or drink anything for 6 to 8 hours before the test. An empty stomach helps your doctor see your stomach clearly during the test. It also reduces your chances of vomiting. If you vomit, there is a small risk that your stomach contents could enter your lungs (aspiration). If the test is done in an emergency, a tube may be inserted through your nose or mouth to empty your stomach.

You may be asked to sign a consent form that says you understand the risks of the test and agree to have it done.

Talk to your doctor about any concerns you have regarding the need for the test, its risks, how it will be done, or what the results will mean. To help you understand the importance of this test, fill out the medical test information form(What is a PDF document?).

You may be asked to stop taking aspirin products or iron supplements 7 to 14 days before the test. If you take blood-thinning medicines regularly, discuss with your doctor how to manage your medicine.

Do not take sucralfate (Carafate) or antacids on the day of the test. These medicines can interfere with your doctor's ability to view the gastrointestinal tract.

If biopsy samples are taken or polyps are removed during the test, bleeding may also occur. This bleeding usually stops on its own without treatment. To reduce this risk, avoid aspirin and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) for several days before the endoscopy. If you take blood-thinning medicine, you may be instructed to stop the medicine temporarily before the test.

Before the test, you will put on a hospital gown. If you are wearing dentures, jewelry, contact lenses, or glasses, remove them. For your own comfort, empty your bladder before the test begins.

Arrange to have someone take you home after the test because you will be given a sedative before the test.

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WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: October 30, 2013
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

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