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Getting Ready for Upper Gastrointestinal Endoscopy

Your doctor wants you to have an upper gastrointestinal endoscopy (EGD). This handout will tell you about the test and how to prepare for it.

Upper Gastrointestinal (GI) Endoscopy (EGD)

This is a test that looks at your esophagus (food tube), stomach and the upper part of the small intestine. A doctor will pass a viewing tube through your mouth into the stomach. This test will help find the cause of abdominal pain, heartburn, and trouble with swallowing or bleeding. An EGD is better at finding many problems in the upper GI tract than an X-ray.
During the test the doctor can also take a small piece of tissue (a biopsy) to send to the lab if we need to look at an area more closely. Doctors take biopsies for many reasons. You will not be able to feel this part of the test.

1 Week Before Test

Call Insurance

At one to two weeks before your test, you may want to call your insurance company to confirm this test is covered. They can tell you if you need an authorization to be started.

Arrange Transportation

Due to the sedation medicines, you must have a responsible adult drive you home. It is recommended that you are observed for at least 6 hours after discharge.

Health Changes

Please tell us about any major health changes, illnesses, or recent hospital stays you have had since you scheduled your test.

Blood Thinners and Diabetes Medicines

You must call the doctor who prescribes this medicine to see if you need to stop or adjust your medicine before your test. Your doctor will tell you how to safely do this.

The UW Digestive Health Center suggests using the schedule below to adjust your blood thinning medicines before your GI procedure. The list below has common blood thinning medicines. It does not include all blood thinning medicines.

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If your prescribing provider tells you to not hold your medicine, please call the Digestive Health Center at 608-890-5010, as this may affect your procedure.

Test Day


Begin clear liquid diet after midnight. Be sure to drink at least 8 glasses of clear “see-through” liquids. Clear liquids include:

  • Water, clear sports drinks like Gatorade®

  • Broth

  • Black coffee, tea, soda

  • Apple juice

  • Jell-O®

  • No creamers, milks or other dairy products

  • No red or purple liquids or Jell-O

  • No solid food

Stop drinking everything, even water, 4 hours before you arrive.


Take your daily medicines except those you were told to stop, including antacids. Take at least 1 hour before you arrive.

What to Bring

  • CPAP or BiPAP and any inhalers that you use

  • Eyeglass or contact lens case, denture cup

  • Ostomy supplies

  • Wear comfortable clothing

  • Phone number for your driver

Do not bring:

  • Jewelry

  • Money

  • Other valuables

Before the Test

  • When you arrive, you can choose if your driver waits in the waiting room or in your private room where they will hear private health information.

  • The doctor will talk with you, answer questions, and ask you to sign a consent form.

  • A nurse will review your health history, take your vital signs and attach a heart monitor.

  • A nurse will place an IV and give you medicines to help you relax and keep you comfortable.

  • Your visit will take about 2-3 hours.

After the Test

  • Your doctor will review the results and give you a report. We strongly suggest that you have your driver in the room with you to hear the results.

  • You may feel tired when you leave.

  • Spend the day resting at home. You cannot drive or return to work. You can return to your normal routine the next day.

  • You may have a mild sore throat. Salt-water gargles should help.


If you have biopsies taken or polyps removed, you can expect to get lab results 1- 2 weeks later. Your results will be sent to your MyChart account. If you don’t have a MyChart account, someone will call you with results or results will be mailed to you.

Who to Call

Patient Resources

(If you need help finding a ride to and from your test)
(608) 821-4144

Digestive Health Center

(608) 890-5010

UW Hospital GI Procedure Clinic

(608) 263-8094

Meriter/Unity Point

(608) 417-6389

If you are a patient receiving care at UnityPoint – Meriter, Swedish American or a health system outside of UW Health, please use the phone numbers provided in your discharge instructions for any questions or concerns.