What is a gastroscopy?

What is a gastroscopy?

A gastroscopy is a procedure done to examine your oesophagus, stomach and first part of the small bowel by passing a thing flexible long tube with a small video on the tip through the mouth (the gastroscope). This is done under deep sedation (you are not awake for the procedure).  An aneasthetic specialist is present at the gastroscopy to manage the sedation. The test takes 10- 15 minutes.

The images from the thin tube are displayed onto a video monitor at the bedside. Your doctor takes time and care to explore these areas carefully, looking for any abnormality that may explain your symptoms. Gastroscopy can also be used to treat conditions, such as stretching a narrowing, stopping bleeding and removing polyps.

Small samples (biopsies) are also usually taken (this depends on what is found and the reason for the test). Samples are taken by passing small forceps in through the scope. Biopsies are very small and do not cause you any discomfort. The samples are sent to the lab for further testing by a specialist pathologist, and results are available within 3-5 days.

Are there any risks with the procedure?

A gastroscopy is considered a low risk test. A minority of patients wakes up with a sore throat or mild bloating in the stomach, which usually resolves within 1-2 hours.

Risks are uncommon and great care is taken to avoid these. These can include:

  1. Damage to the teeth – 1 in 2000- a mouth guard is used to protect your teeth and avoid this happening.

  2. Aspiration- stomach contents entering the lungs- 1 in 2000

  3. Bleeding- 1 in 2000

  4. Perforation/tear in the lining- rare

  5. Complications from the anaesthetic- rare

How do you prepare for a gastroscopy?

You should have nothing to eat for 6 hours before your admission time

You can drink CLEAR FLUIDS only until 2 hours before your admission time.

CLEAR FLUIDS are: water, soda water, mineral water, cordial, sports drinks, lemonade, apple juice (no pulp), black coffee/tea.

Take your usual medication on the morning of the test with water (more than 2 hours before the test). If you are on insulin, diabetic medication or blood thinners, please seek advice from the Gastroenterologist about these medications before the test.