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How to Prepare for Upper GI Endsoscopy

The upper GI tract must be empty before upper GI endoscopy. Generally, no eating or drinking is allowed 4 to 8 hours before the procedure. Smoking and chewing gum are also prohibited during this time. Patients should tell their doctor about all health conditions they have - especially heart and lung problems, diabetes, and allergies - may be asked to temporarily stop taking medications that affect blood clotting or interact with sedatives which are often given during upper GI endoscopy.

Medications and vitamins that may be restricted before and after upper GI endoscopy include:

► NSAID’s such as aspirin, ibuprofen (Advil), and naproxen (Aleve)

blood thinners

blood pressure medications

diabetes medications


dietary supplements

Driving is not permitted for 12 to 24 hours after upper GI endoscopy to allow sedatives time to completely wear off. Before the appointment, patients should make plans for a ride home.

How is the upper GI endoscopy performed?

Upper GI endoscopy is conducted at a hospital or outpatient center.

 • Patients may receive a local, liquid anesthetic that is gargled or sprayed on the back of the throat. The anesthetic numbs the throat and calms the gag reflex. An intravenous (IV) needle is placed in a vein in the arm if a sedative will be given. Sedatives help patients stay relaxed and comfortable.

 • While patients are sedated, the doctor and medical staff monitor vital signs. During the procedure, patients lie on their back or side on an examination table.

 • An endoscope is carefully fed down the esophagus and into the stomach and duodenum. A small camera mounted on the endoscope transmits a video image to a video monitor, allowing close examination of the intestinal lining.

 • Air is pumped through the endoscope to inflate the stomach and duodenum, making them easier to see.

 • Special tools that slide through the endoscope allow the doctor to perform biopsies, stop bleeding and remove abnormal growth.

After the test is finished, you will not be able to have food and liquid until your gag reflex returns (so you do not choke).

The test lasts about 5 to 20 minutes.