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When do you need an Upper Endoscopy?: February 4, 2019

Using a scope and camera, surgeons can get an inside look at your esophagus, stomach, and small intestine.  “Upper endoscopy is laymen term, but the real term is esophagogastroduodenoscopy. We look at any problems in the upper GI tract, such as gastroesophageal reflux disease, which is very prevalent. It’s very common,” said Dr. Khalid Alam, a gastroenterologist with Lee Health.

Chronic heartburn and acid reflux are two of the most common reasons patients may need an upper endoscopy.  “Sometimes over some time, the lining in the esophagus changes, and we see Barrett’s esophagus, which is a serious thing,” said Dr. Alam.

Patients are at a higher risk for developing Barrett’s esophagus if they are over the age of 60, if they smoke, drink frequently, have persistent and severe heartburn, commonly take antacids or Prilosec, or if they’re obese. “If they are serious and they don’t get better, especially if they are above age 60, then I think it’s a good strategy to investigate and see what’s going on,” he said.

An upper endoscopy is a quick procedure where the patient is sedated.  “Once they are sedated, we have them swallow a little tube with a camera attached, and food goes down the esophagus the same way the scope goes into the esophagus and stomach, and as it goes in, we look at the inside of the GI tract on a screen and figure out what’s going on and go from there,” said Dr. Alam.

The procedure can identify problems like erosions and ulcers-- and help determine if a patient has celiac disease.  “It’s a very safe procedure.  I’ve done, combined, all procedures, more than 50,000 of those over the years,” he said.

A quick and easy way to find answers to serious health concerns.

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