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Upper Gastrointestinal Endoscopy


Complications are rare. There is a slight risk that your esophagus, stomach, or upper small intestine will get a small hole in it. If this happens, you may need to have surgery to fix it. There is also a slight chance of infection after an endoscopy.

Bleeding may also occur from the test or if a tissue sample (biopsy) is taken. But the bleeding usually stops on its own without treatment. If you vomit during the exam and some of the vomit enters your lungs, aspiration pneumonia is a possible risk. If it happens, it can be treated with antibiotics.

An irregular heartbeat may occur during the test. But it almost always goes away on its own without treatment.

The risk of problems is higher in people who have serious heart disease, older adults, and those who are frail or physically weakened. Talk to your doctor about your specific risks.

After the test

After the test, call911or other emergency services right away if you have:

After the test, call your doctor right away if you:

  • Feel short of breath or dizzy.
  • Have symptoms of infection, such as fever or chills.
  • Vomit blood, whether it is fresh and red or is old and looks like coffee grounds.


An upper gastrointestinal (UGI) endoscopy allows your doctor to look at the inside lining of your esophagus, your stomach, and the first part of your small intestine (duodenum). The doctor uses a thin, flexible viewing tool called an endoscope.

Your doctor may be able to talk to you about some of the findings right after your endoscopy. But the medicines you get to help relax you may impair your memory, so your doctor may wait until they fully wear off. It may take 2 to 4 days for some results. Tests for certain infections may take several weeks.

Upper gastrointestinal endoscopy findings

The esophagus, stomach, and upper small intestine (duodenum) look normal.


Inflammation or irritation is found in the esophagus, stomach, or small intestine.

Bleeding, an ulcer, a tumor, a tear, or dilated veins are found.

A hiatal hernia is found.

A too-narrow section (stricture) is found in the esophagus.

A foreign object is found in the esophagus, stomach, or small intestine.

A biopsy sample may be taken to:

Many conditions can affect the results of this test. Your doctor will discuss your results with you in relation to your symptoms and past health.

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: November 14, 2014
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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