There are a number of EGD alternatives that are effective in identifying upper digestive tract problems. The most common alternatives include x-rays, CT scans, and upper GI series. Although these EGD alternatives may be helpful, it is important to know that they will not be able to provide the same amount of in-depth information as an EGD.
There are several EGD (upper endoscopy) alternatives available to diagnose or look for possible upper digestive tract disease. The choice of which and how many tests to perform depend on your health history and current problems. Therefore, it may be possible that you have already had some or all of the examination alternatives that we will discuss, or that some of these alternatives do not apply to your particular situation.
Some alternatives to EGD include:
- Physical exam
- Upper GI series
- A CT scan.
Upper GI Series
An upper GI series involves swallowing barium as x-rays are being taken. Barium, which is a harmless liquid, coats the inside of the esophagus, stomach, and small intestine so that their shapes show up on an x-ray. It is sometimes used as the first diagnostic tool for studying the upper digestive tract. It is not as reliable as endoscopy in diagnosing inflammatory lesions such as esophagitis, gastritis, or small ulcers.
A CT scan is a more specialized type of x-ray that can take a picture of the inside of the digestive tract. Unfortunately, it is not as precise as the barium test or endoscopy in diagnosing most problems involving the lining of the intestinal tract.
These alternatives to upper endoscopy can give general information about problems within the upper digestive tract, but they do not give the in-depth information that an EGD provides. Upper endoscopy allows your doctor to directly look at the structures that may be causing your problem, treat them, and take biopsies if appropriate.
If you have questions about your particular situation, you should discuss the different alternative methods with your doctor and decide, with his or her help, which one (if any) is appropriate for you.