What is Gastroscopy?
Gastroscopy is a procedure that enables your doctor to examine the lining of the esophagus, stomach and the first segment of the small intestine (duodenum). It is performed in the endoscopy suite.
A soft, bendable tube much thinner than a finger is gently inserted into the mouth and advanced in. With the use of a video camera, Gastroscopy enables your doctor to examine the upper gastrointestinal tract.
Who should undergo Gastroscopy?
Gastroscopy is performed for:
- Gastric cancer screening.
- Patients with ulcers / polyps.
- Evaluation of upper abdominal discomfort and pain.
- Anemia or gastrointestinal bleeding.
- Problems with swallowing.
- Reflux and heartburn symptoms.
How do I prepare for one?
The stomach must be completely emptied of food and liquid for the Gastroscopy. This involves fasting for at least 6 hours before the procedure
An empty stomach allows good visualization and reduces the risk of vomiting during the procedure. If there is food present, the procedure will have to be postponed.
Most medications are safe to continue for the procedure. You should discuss this with your doctor prior to the examination, especially if you are taking any blood thinners, warfarin, aspirin or diabetes medication.
How is Gastroscopy performed?
A local anesthetic spray is administered to numb your throat after which, you may be given light sedation to make you more comfortable
The doctor will slowly advance a gastroscope though your mouth and down into your stomach. The examination is completed in about 10 minutes.
You may experience mild bloating or belching as air is inflated to distend the stomach. The procedure is well tolerated, pain free and does not affect your breathing.
What are the risks?
Gastroscopy is a very safe procedure. Complications are rare, but can occur. These include bleeding from a biopsy site, perforation or aspiration of stomach contents. Aspiration risk is minimized by fasting. Some patients might have reactions to the sedation.
It is important to contact your doctor if you experience symptoms of severe chest/abdominal pain, fever or bleeding
What happens after Gastroscopy?
You will be observed until the sedation has worn off, after which you will be discharged home. Do not drive or operate machinery till the next day, as the sedatives used will impair your reflexes.
You may experience mild bloating from the air placed in the stomach. This will improve when you pass the gas. Sometimes, a mild sore throat is experienced and it will resolve in a few days. You will be able to eat normally the same day and resume your normal activities the next day.