Digestive Tests & Endoscopic Procedures

Learn about tests and endoscopic procedures your doctor may use to detect, diagnose, and monitor gastrointestinal (GI) and digestive conditions, including heartburn and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).

What’s Endoscopy?

Endoscopy allows your doctor to look inside your body and perform certain types of procedures.

An endoscope is a thin, flexible tube with a tiny, lighted camera at the tip that takes photos inside of your body during an endoscopic procedure. Doctors use special types of endoscopes to examine different parts of your body.

Test & Procedures We Perform

Count on Nash UNC to perform a wide range of diagnostic tests and endoscopic procedures when you need them. Our trained and experienced team will explain your test or procedure and help you prepare for it ahead of time. Take advantage of tests and procedures such as:

  • Barium swallow study – Takes X-ray images of your throat and esophagus after you swallow a white liquid, called barium. The test detects abnormalities such as reflux, hiatal hernia, masses, and motility problems.
  • Colonoscopy – Looks inside your large intestine (rectum and colon) for abnormalities such as bleeding, inflammation, polyps, and tumors, and checks for cancerous growths
  • ERCP (endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography) – Uses an endoscope and catheter to find and inject contrast dye into the ducts that drain your liver, pancreas, and gallbladder, and then takes X-rays to check for blockages, gallstones, and other abnormalities
  • Esophageal manometry – Places a catheter with sensors through your nose into your stomach to measure the pressure of your esophagus while you swallow water to evaluate how well your esophageal muscles function. This test helps determine if you’re a candidate for heartburn treatment surgery.
  • Flexible sigmoidoscopy – Assesses the lower part of your large intestine for polyps and tumors
  • Gastric emptying study – Takes a series of X-ray images of your stomach after you eat food with dye in it to track how quickly the food passes through your stomach into your small intestines
  • pH monitoring (pH is a measure of acidity)
    • Impedance study – Measures the flow of liquid, both acidic and non-acidic while on or off acid suppression medications. It also detects reflux episodes, the length of each episode, and direction of flow.
    • BRAVO® pH test – Attaches a small electronic capsule to your lower esophagus, allowing wireless recording of your pH levels for a specified period of time, during which you keep a diary of symptoms, meals, and activities.
    • Airway pH study – Also known as an oropharyngeal pH study, measures and records airway pH levels, both liquid and gas, in your esophagus and larynx to diagnose laryngopharyngeal reflux disease.
  • Upper endoscopy, also known as an EGD – Allows your doctor to look inside your upper digestive tract – throat, esophagus, stomach, and the first part of your small intestine – using a flexible endoscope. This test helps diagnose ulcers, bacteria, tumors, polyps, cancers, and lesions.

What to Expect for Endoscopic Procedures

You’ll need a doctor’s referral for tests and endoscopic procedures at Nash UNC. Expect phone calls from the hospital about your insurance, medical history, registration, and pre-arrival information to make the day of your procedure go smoothly. You’ll have time to ask questions during these calls.


You may receive sedation from an anesthesia provider prior to your procedure. Not every patient is eligible. When you get medications to sedate you, you won’t feel pain or remember the procedure. You’ll need a licensed driver to take you home after your procedure.

Access & Amenities

Enjoy easy drop-off and pick-up at the Nash Day Hospital and free, convenient parking close by. Benefit from the private procedure and recovery rooms at Nash Day Hospital for your best experience.

Your Care Team

Your care team at Nash UNC will help you feel comfortable during your stay, educate you and your family about the process, and provide efficient personal care. Your trained care team with years of experience may include:

  • Board-certified gastroenterologist (GI) doctor or a surgeon– Performs your test or procedure
  • Certified flexible endoscope reprocessor (CFER) – Keeps the instruments clean and disinfected
  • Certified gastroenterology registered nurse (CGRN) and/or a variety of experienced nurses – Care for you before, during, and after your procedure
  • Experienced endoscopy technician – Assists your physician with endoscopic procedures

Test & Procedure Results

Trust our knowledgeable team at Nash UNC to return your results as quickly as possible. Depend on your Nash UNC doctor or your referring doctor to talk to you about the results of your test or procedure.

Colon Cancer Resources

Learn more about colorectal cancer screening. If your doctor recommends you get a screening, ask for a referral to Nash UNC.