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Upper Endoscopy

Your health care provider has decided that your child should have an endoscopy. An endoscopy is a test that allows the doctor to look inside the upper part of the digestive tract (esophagus, stomach and first part of the small intestine). This will help them to better understand and treat your child's problem. This procedure will be scheduled through your gastroenterology provider.

Medications are given to your child to keep them comfortable during the endoscopy. General anesthesia will be administered by a pediatric anesthesiologist. The procedure is performed with a long flexible tube, about the width of a finger, called an endoscope. It has a camera at the tip, which allows the doctor to view the inside of the digestive tract on a video screen. It is put in through the mouth and down into the stomach and small intestine. Small pieces of tissue, called biopsies, are taken through the endoscope and sent for examination in the laboratory. These results are available in approximately one week.


Your child should have nothing to eat or drink after midnight the night before the test. Only sips of water or Pedialyte can be offered up to four hours prior to time you are to arrive at the hospital.

Infants under one year of age have special feeding instructions:

  • No food, milk, formula or juices containing pulp for eight hours prior to the time you are to arrive at the hospital
  • Breast milk may be given up to 4 hours prior to the time you are to arrive at the hospital
  • Clear liquids (water, apple juice, Pedialyte) can be offered until two hours prior to the time you are to arrive at the hospital

Please note that your appointment location is in the Johns Hopkins Children's Center Charlotte R. Bloomberg Children’s Center building, 4th floor, Pediatric Surgical Family Lounge, 1800 Orleans St, Baltimore, MD 21287. You will be asked to arrive one and half hours before the procedure can begin.

Your child will change into a hospital gown and begin the process to undergo anesthesia. You may stay with your child until they are asleep, but you may not accompany them into the room where the procedure will be performed. If your child has a favorite toy or blanket, you may bring it for a source of comfort. Also bring any medication your child takes.

If you have any questions, please contact us.

After the Procedure

Immediately following the procedure, the doctor will come and speak with you about his/her observations and description of what was seen during the test.  Additional information will be obtained from the biopsy report, which will be available in about a week.  You may call the office in a week to speak with the physician who requested that you child have the endoscopy.

After the procedure your child will be taken to the Children's Recovery Room, where you are invited to stay with him/her.  After he/she is awake and has had something to drink, you will be discharged home.  At home your child may participate in quiet, supervised activities, such as reading and watching TV.  It is not uncommon for children to take frequent naps after anesthesia.  Your child may experience a slight sore throat after the procedure.  This should pass quickly.  Cold beverages or throat lozenges may be helpful.  Some children experience nausea and vomiting due to the anesthesia.  Do not be alarmed if you notice flecks of blood in the vomit.  This is from the biopsies and will stop within 24 hours.  We advise first giving clear liquids such as juice, soda or Pedialyte.  If these are tolerated, resume the usual diet.  Depending on how your child is feeling, he/she may resume his normal activities and return to school on the following day.

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