Upper Endoscopy Complications
There are a number of possible major complications that can occur during or after an upper endoscopy. Although these are very uncommon, your overall health will play a role in your likelihood of developing complications and how well you recover. For example, patients with severe heart disease, diabetes, or serious gastrointestinal or lung disease have a higher chance of developing complications than those who are healthier.
Many types of problems can happen, and we cannot list all of them here. Some of the more common major problems with upper endoscopy that can happen include:
- Perforation (a tear) in the esophagus, stomach, or small intestine
- Allergic reaction to medication
- Heart or lung problems, possibly including:
o Irregular heart rhythms
o Lung failure
- Other rare or unlikely events.
Depending on the individual situation, a major complication with upper endoscopy may lead to a hospital stay, or in very rare cases, surgery, permanent disability, or even loss of life. Major complications occur in approximately 2 out of 1,000 procedures, with loss of life occurring in 1 out of 10,000.
If your doctor performs dilation during the EGD, the complication rate can be higher. This is because dilation is a delicate procedure that stretches a narrowed section of your esophagus, stomach, or small intestine.
It may be that in your doctor's practice, few of these upper endoscopy complications have happened -- or they have occurred very rarely. However, it is important for you to know and understand the possible complications, so that you are fully informed before your procedure.