High Digestive Endoscopy: What Is It And How Is It Performed?


Upper gastrointestinal endoscopy is an exam that aims to visualize and evaluate the upper gastrointestinal tract – composed of the esophagus, stomach and duodenum (the first portion of the small intestine). Popularly known only by endoscopy, the exam is commonly performed to diagnose diseases and investigate cases of abdominal pain and discomfort.

The exam is performed when the patient is sedated. A thin flexible tube is inserted through the oropharynx, with a camera attached at the tip – called an endoscope, which registers images that will direct the appropriate diagnosis and treatment. With all the appropriate equipment and qualified professionals, the procedure is highly safe and well tolerated.

In order for the procedure to be performed successfully, it is important that the patient follows all the previous recommendations. Performing it in an excellent clinic, committed to the well-being and health of the patient is also of the essence; as is the case of Colono Clinic, that counts with a highly qualified team and sterilized, quality equipment.

What is endoscopy for?

HDE (High Digestive Endoscopy) is a procedure indicated to diagnose a series of diseases, including cases of malignant or pre-malignant cancer. The test is done with the aid of a device called an endoscope – a thin, long, very flexible tube that is inserted through the mouth and can reach the first portion of the intestine.
Endoscope cameras reproduce images in high definition and can even shoot on HDTV. The endoscope also has the ability to aspirate and inject water to facilitate proper visualization of the organs studied.

With endoscopy it is possible to investigate and diagnose a series of clinical situations:

  • Pain or discomfort in the upper abdomen
  • Evaluation and follow-up of gastroesophageal reflux disease
  • Screening for cancer in patients with suggestive signs and symptoms and/or known risk factors.
  • Persistent nausea and vomiting
  • Bleeding on the gastrointestinal tract
  • Iron deficiency anemia

Endoscopy also allows the collection of small fragments of tissue for laboratory analysis, in selected cases, such as the evaluation of gastritis, ulcers and bacterial infection in the stomach.

How is endoscopy done?

In order to perform a quality endoscopy exam, it is necessary to perform the preparation properly, according to all guidelines and recommendations, in order to obtain results with the maximum efficiency and the minimum risk.
The patient should remain fasting for solids for 8 hours prior to the exam, and then do absolute fasting (even water) for the 4 hours prior to the exam. The stomach should remain empty for adequate visualization during the exam, and to avoid vomit and consequent bronchoaspiration.

The exam is usually performed with mild sedation administered via venipuncture. An anesthetic spray is also applied to the throat, so the patient can better tolerate the passage of the endoscope.
To analyze the stomach properly, it must be filled with air, so it is inflated by the endoscope. This can cause a feeling of heaviness in the stomach and a desire to belch, but patients should try to avoid expelling the air from the stomach until the end of the exam. A typical endoscopy lasts from 10 to 20 minutes and is well tolerated by most people.

After sedation, the specialist begins the exam by inserting the tube to capture the images. In case of the identification of nodules and polyps, samples may be taken for laboratory analysis; in cases of bleeding, the endoscope may be useful to control it, for eventual cauterization.
High Digestive Endoscopy is a highly safe exam. However, like any medical act, it is not without risk. The most frequent complication is phlebitis (pain and swelling in the pathway of the punctured vein) and rhinitis secondary to the administration of oxygen. More serious complications such as perforation and bleeding are very rare in diagnostic exams.

After the exam, the patient remains under observation for a short period of time – until the effects of sedation disappear. It is essential that the patient is accompanied to perform the exam and to return home, as it is not recommended to drive, work or perform activities of high complexity such as operating machines after the exam.

If you need to perform a high digestive endoscopy, count on us. Our clinic was created with the commitment to provide a safe environment, in favor of your well-being and health. Contact us and schedule an appointment!

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