Gastroscopy: What is it? Procedure, Diagnostics and Treatments

Also called upper gastrointestinal endoscopy or oral panendoscopy, is a medical examination that visualizes the esophagus, stomach and duodenum.

If you are referred to a gastroscopy, you will be told if you should stop taking any of your medications beforehand.

You may need to stop taking any medication prescribed for indigestion for up to two weeks before the procedure. This is because the medication may mask some of the problems that a gastroscopy might encounter.

If you take any of the following medications, you should telephone the endoscopy unit before your appointment, as special arrangements may be necessary:

  • Any medication used to treat diabetes, such as insulin or metformin.
  • Any anticoagulant medication (used to prevent blood clots), such as low doses of aspirin, warfarin, or clopidogrel.
  • It is important that your stomach be empty during a gastroscopy, so that the entire area can be seen clearly. Generally, you will be asked not to eat anything for six to eight hours before the procedure, and stop taking it two to three hours before the procedure: follow the instructions given by the hospital.

The procedure of gastroscopy

A gastroscopy often takes less than 15 minutes, although it may take longer if it is used to treat a condition.

The procedure will usually be carried out by an endoscopist (a health professional who specializes in performing endoscopies) and assisted by a nurse.

You will meet the nurse before the procedure and they will be able to answer any questions you have and you will also have the opportunity to ask the endoscopist.

A local anesthetic spray will be used to numb the throat for the procedure and you will be asked in advance if you would like a sedative injection. Young children can have the procedure under general anesthesia, which means that they will be asleep while it is carried out.

The sedative will help you feel sleepy and relaxed during the procedure, but you will need to stay in the hospital for a longer time while you recover, and you will need someone to pick you up from the hospital and stay with you for at least 24 hours. You will not be able to work or drive during this period.

Before the procedure begins, you will be asked to remove your glasses, contact lenses and false teeth. Generally, it will not be necessary to be undressed, but you may be asked to wear a hospital gown over clothing.

The local anesthetic spray is then administered and a small plastic shield is placed in the mouth to keep it open and protect the teeth.

You will be asked to lie on the left side and the endoscopist will insert the endoscope into your throat. You will be asked to swallow it to help move it into your esophagus. This may be uncomfortable at first and you may feel nauseous or nauseous, but this should happen as the endoscope moves further down.

Diagnose a condition

If gastroscopy is used to diagnose a certain condition, air will be injected into the stomach once the endoscope is inside. This allows the endoscopist to see any unusual redness, holes, bumps, obstructions or other abnormalities.

You may feel a bit uncomfortable when the air is blowing into your stomach and you may burp or feel bloated. This should start to improve once the procedure is finished.

If abnormalities are detected, a tissue sample ( biopsy ) may be removed and sent to a laboratory for a more detailed examination under a microscope. You will not feel anything while the sample is removed.

Treatment of bleeding varices with Gastroscopy

If you have hemorrhagic varices (dilated veins), the endoscopist will use the endoscope to locate the bleeding site.

After the procedure, they will take you to the recovery area. If you did not have a sedative, you can usually go home shortly after completing the procedure. If you had a sedative, you should rest quietly for a few minutes or hours until the sedative is gone.

You should also arrange for someone to take you home and stay with you for at least 24 hours.

Even if you feel very alert, the sedative may remain in your blood for 24 hours and you may experience more episodes of drowsiness. Therefore, you should not drive, operate heavy machinery or drink alcohol during this time.

Before discharge, the nurse or doctor can explain the results of the procedure. Sometimes, you may need an appointment with the doctor or your GP a few days or weeks later to analyze the results.

You will be informed if you need to make any changes in your diet during the hours or days after your return home. Stop bleeding by attaching the varicose veins with a small band of rubber (band ligation) or injecting them with a chemical that seals the orifice or tears the blood vessel (sclerotherapy).

Treatment of bleeding stomach ulcers

If you have bleeding gastric ulcers, several techniques can be used to treat them. For example:

A probe can be passed through the endoscope to seal the ulcer with heat, or small clips can be used to stop the bleeding. Medications can be injected around the ulcer to activate the clotting process.

During the procedure, you may also receive an injection of an acid-reducing medication called a proton pump inhibitor to stop recurrent bleeding. Enlarging the esophagus If you have a narrow esophagus, the endoscopist can pass instruments through the endoscope to help stretch and widen it.

The instruments can also be used to insert a balloon or stent (a hollow plastic or metal tube) to keep the sides of the esophagus open.

After

After the procedure, they will take you to the recovery area.

If you did not have a sedative, you can usually go home shortly after completing the procedure. If you had a sedative, you should rest quietly for a few minutes or hours until the sedative is gone. You should also arrange for someone to take you home and stay with you for at least 24 hours.

Even if you feel very alert, the sedative may remain in your blood for 24 hours and you may experience more episodes of drowsiness. Therefore, you should not drive, operate heavy machinery or drink alcohol during this time.

Before discharge, the nurse or doctor can explain the results of the procedure. Sometimes, you may need an appointment with the doctor or your GP a few days or weeks later to analyze the results.

You will be informed if you need to make any changes to your diet during the hours or days after your return home.