An upper gastrointestinal endoscopy (UGI endoscopy), sometimes also known as a magic eye or an oesophageal gastro duodenoscopy (OGD), is where a narrow, flexible camera is passed into your mouth and down your food pipe (oesophagus) and into your stomach and the first bit of your small bowel (duodenum).
If we see an abnormality, such as an enlarged blood vessel, we can often treat this at the time.
There are many reasons to perform this procedure. In patients with liver disease there is a risk of a condition known as “Varices”.
The oesophagus and stomach (GI tract) are surrounded by a network of blood vessels which can take up nutrients from the GI tract all flow into the liver. When the liver has scarring (Cirrhosis) the blood flow is slower through the liver, this means that the vessels brining blood from the GI tract into the liver become swollen.
This can make the stomach lining inflamed (portal gastropathy), or can cause prominent visible blood vessels known as varices in the stomach or food pipe (oesophagus). In the worst case scenario these vessels can bleed, which can lead to significant blood loss and have a knock on effect on your ability of the liver to function.
You will be sent information about the procedure, including how long you need to be “nil by mouth”, before your procedure. This will contain detailed information about the procedure including how it is performed and the risks and benefits.
For individuals with liver disease there is a risk of swollen blood vessels. This are often treated with medication, but on some occasions you may need treatment at the time of your endoscopy. This will not be painful and will be explained at the time.
The risk of the procedure are outlined in the information you will be given before the procedure. If there are any specific risks you would like to discuss you will be given the opportunity to discuss the procedure further at the time of your procedure/
You will be given a print out of the procedure results on the day of the test.
If we have taken tests such as a “CLO Test”- to look for bacteria in the stomach, or if we took tissue samples (biopsies), you will also receive a letter with your results and any further action that may be required.
If the results need further action, for instance if we need to consider medication to treat swollen blood vessels, then your doctor may discuss this with you on the day of the procedure or may arrange a further clinic appointment to go through the pros and cons of treatment.
You many need further endoscopy procedures depending on the findings. This will be discussed with you as part of your follow up in the liver clinic.
Endoscopy can be a scary thought, but the test is often easier to tolerate than you would expect. We advise the procedure for several reasons and you should have the opportunity to discuss alternatives or risks of not having the procedure with your doctor or nurse at the time the procedure is suggested.