19 Dec Gastroscopy
Alternative Names: Upper GIT scope
During a gastroscopy, a doctor examines your oesophagus, stomach and duodenum using a special, flexible instrument (gastroscope), which is inserted via the mouth, down the oesophagus (food pipe) and into the stomach. The gastroscope allows the doctor to view suspicious areas and to take a small tissue sample. It is important to have an empty stomach to prevent aspiration of stomach contents into the lung. Gastroscopy is performed to investigate heartburn, burning abdominal pain, blood in stools, and difficulty swallowing, which could possibly be symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux disease, peptic ulcer disease or cancer of the oesophagus, stomach or duodenum. Gastroscopy is not advised if you have an unstable heart or lung condition. Patients with heart valve disease or a history of endocarditis should receive antibiotic prophylaxis for endocarditis.
What is it?
Gastroscopy (a.k.a. oesophagogastroduodenoscopy) refers to the examination of the oesophagus, stomach and duodenum (the first part of the small intestine) using a gastroscope, which is a flexible fibre-optic instrument consisting of a lens, a light source, and a tube through which small surgical instruments can be passed.
The procedure can be performed at specially equipped doctor’s rooms but is often done in clinics and hospitals. It takes approximately 30 minutes.
Why is it done?
Gastroscopy is done to investigate symptoms such as:
- Burning abdominal pain
- Blood in stool/ black, tarry stools
- Difficulty swallowing
It is used when considering diagnoses such as:
- Gastroesophageal Reflux disease (a condition in which there is backflow of acid from the stomach into the oesophagus)
- Peptic ulcer disease
- Cancer of the oesophagus, stomach or duodenum
- Bleeding from the upper gut
Gastroscopy may also be used to relieve symptoms in oesophageal cancer. It may also be used as a substitute for x-ray examination of the abdomen in pregnancy.
Before – how to prepare
It is important that you have an empty stomach and generally people are advised not to eat or drink anything from the night before the procedure.
You will need to sign a consent form.
During – how the test is done
You will be sedated, but general anaesthetic is not normally needed. You lie on your side while the doctor inserts the gastroscope through your mouth and gently guides it all the way through to your duodenum. You will be encouraged to swallow during the procedure as it facilitates the passing of the tube. He can look through the gastroscope as well as watching on a TV monitor (via an attached camera). Often, small amounts of air are passed through the gastroscope, to make viewing easier. If the doctor sees any abnormal or suspicious areas he may take a biopsy (small tissue sample), using small surgical instruments passed through the gastroscope.
You may feel some discomfort, sensations of pressure, and the need to gag during the procedure, but these are usually fairly mild.
After the test
The sedative will leave you feeling drowsy for a few hours. You will need to arrange for somebody to collect you, as you will not be able to drive home.
Risks and Compilations
- Perforation of the oesophagus
- Bleeding from biopsy sites
- Heart or lung complications
- Reactions/side effects to the sedatives used
Gastroscopy is a commonplace procedure these days and is generally considered to be very safe – problems are uncommon.
Contra-indications to endoscopy include unstable heart and lung conditions, failure to co-operate and the inability to give informed consent.
Patients with heart valve disease or a history of endocarditis should receive antibiotic prophylaxis for endocarditis.
During a gastroscopy, a doctor examines your oesophagus, stomach and duodenum using a special, flexible instrument (gastroscope), which is inserted via the mouth, down the oesophagus (food pipe) and into the stomach.
scope, g-scope, gastroscopy, oesophagus, upper GIT scope