Saturday, June 2
Upper gastrointestinal endoscopy (also known as esophago-gastro-duodenoscopy or EGD) is a common way of diagnosing GERD. EGD is a procedure in which a tube containing an optical system for visualization is swallowed. As the tube progresses down the gastrointestinal tract, the lining of the esophagus, stomach, and duodenum can be examined.
The esophagus of most patients with symptoms of reflux looks normal. Therefore, in most patients, endoscopy will not help in the diagnosis of GERD. However, sometimes the lining of the esophagus appears inflamed (esophagitis). Moreover, if erosions (superficial breaks in the esophageal lining) or ulcers (deeper breaks in the lining) are seen, a diagnosis of GERD can be made. Endoscopy will also identify several of the complications of GERD, specifically, ulcers, strictures, and Barrett's esophagus. Biopsies also may be obtained. Finally, other problems that may be causing GERD-like symptoms-for example ulcers, inflammation, or cancers-can be diagnosed in the stomach or duodenum.