Upper Endoscopy For Kids

An upper endoscopy (also called esophagogastroduodenoscopy or EGD) is a test done by a doctor to examine the esophagus, stomach, and upper intestine for possible causes of problems with your child’s digestive tract. Symptoms that may require an upper endoscopy include:

  • Vomiting
  • Trouble swallowing
  • Trouble growing
  • Diarrhea
  • Belly pain
  • Taking out food, coins or other things that get stuck

What will the procedure involve?

Medicine will be given to put them to sleep. The doctor will use a very narrow, bendable tube with a tiny camera and light on the end to look inside the child’s body. The doctor may also take a small tissue sample from the digestive tract to help them find out why the child is not feeling well.

Before the Test

Beginning three (3) days before the procedure your child will need to take acetaminophen instead of aspirin or ibuprofen in order to decrease the chances of increased bleeding during the procedure.

The child should not eat or drink anything 8 hours before this test to avoid problems with the medicine that will be used to help them sleep during the procedure. If the child is under 1 year of age, and only having an EGD, follow the below schedule:

  • No solid foods 8 hours before the procedure.
  • No milk and formula 6 hours before the procedure.
  • No breast milk 4 hours before the procedure.
  • No clear liquids and pedialyte 2 hours before the procedure.

Make sure all lab work ordered by your doctor has been done at least 48 hours before the procedure. Failure to do this may require the child’s procedure be cancelled.

The evening before the procedure, a surgery nurse will call you with the time to arrive at the hospital (this call will occur sometime between 4-8 PM). If you don’t receive a call, contact the hospital at 541-8580.

On the morning of the procedure, register at the admitting office at East Tennessee Children’s Hospital.

After the Test

Immediately after the test, the child will begin to slowly wake up from the medicine. The doctor may show you pictures from the test, and may suggest certain medications that will help the child. Once the child is able to drink fluids, they can have food and may go home. Sometimes a child may feel sick after the test and will need to stay a bit longer until they start to feel better.

Results of the child’s biopsies are available two weeks after the procedure and will be discussed at the follow-up visit. You will need to schedule a follow-up visit with the child’s doctor two weeks after the procedure.

When to Call the Doctor

After the procedure, call the doctor ((865) 546-3998) if:

  • The pain becomes worse
  • The child has nausea or vomiting
  • Bleeding. Spitting up a small amount of blood may be normal for your child. However, if your child spits up more than a spoonful of blood, or if the child bleeds longer than 1 day, let your doctor know.
  • The child develops a fever over 101.5.
  • Sore throat. It is normal to have a sore throat for a day or two after the test. However, contact your doctor if your child’s throat is very sore or if the soreness does not go away.


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Image above from NIDDK