What is a Gastroscopy?
A gastroscopy is an examination of the inside of your oesophagus (gullet) stomach, and duodenum (first part of your small intestine) using a slim flexible tube known as a gastroscope passed through your mouth. The tube contains a digital camera, allowing the endoscopist to look for problems which may be causing your symptoms.
The procedure takes about 3-5 minutes.
Advice for diabetic patients
If you are diabetic on insulin follow the instructions below.
For a morning appointment:
- The night before your test – Take half your normal dose of insulin
and a bedtime snack.
- On the morning of the test – Do not take your morning dose of Insulin, but bring your insulin with you to the clinic.
- Do check your blood sugar before leaving home – If it is low take a small amount of sweet drink.
- After the test – Administer your usual morning dose of insulin and then eat as normal.
For an afternoon appointment:
- On the morning of the test – Take half your normal dose of insulin and a light breakfast at least 6 hours before the test is due.
- After the test – Have a light snack, take your normal evening dose of insulin and normal evening meal but check your blood sugar levels more often, taking sweet drinks if the level is low.
For a morning appointment:
- The night before your test – Take half your normal tablets and a snack.
- On the morning of the test – Do not take your tablets but bring them with you to the clinic.
- After the test – Take your tablets and eat a snack, then return to your normal routine.
For an afternoon appointment:
- The night before your test take half your normal tablets and a snack.
- On the morning of your test have a light breakfast at least 6 hours before the appointment. Check your blood sugar; if it is low take a small amount of a sweet drink.
- After the test have a light snack, and take your normal tablets in the evening with your evening meal.
What are the risks of gastroscopy?
The majority of gastroscopies are very safe and uncomplicated, particularly in community based units like ours.
You may suffer from a sore throat, or feel some wind in your stomach, this will settle. There is a small risk of damage to crowned teeth or dental bridge work. Very rarely, patients may have a reaction to sedative drugs, bleeding or perforation (tear in the lining). Please speak to your endoscopist if you are concerned, or would like more information.
If you would like treatment at the Endoscopy Unit from St James Medical Practice at Dersingham, you can contact your GP for a referral.
About the gastroscopy procedure
A nurse will check your details, blood pressure pulse and allergies and explain the procedure. If you haven’t signed your consent form, the nurse or endoscopist will explain and sign it with you.
A biopsy (small sample of tissue) may be taken during the examination to be sent to the laboratory for more tests. You cannot feel this being done. The nurse may clear your mouth with a small suction tube.
A fingertip device measures your heart rate and oxygen levels. A small mouthpiece will be placed in your mouth, and the endoscope gently inserted into through this. This is not painful and will not affect your breathing. You may feel a little bloated as a result of the air used to inflate your stomach during the test.
The examination takes between 3-5 minutes.
What preparation is required before a gastroscopy?
For this examination to be successful, your stomach must be empty. If you are taking Clopidogrel, aspirin or other antiplatelet tablets continue taking them, unless otherwise requested in your appointment letter.
Anticoagulant advice: If you are taking Clopidogrel, or other antiplatelet tablets, you may be asked to stop it 5 days before the procedure if it is considered safe for you to do so. If this applies to you details will be included in your appointment letter. You do not need to stop taking aspirin.
If you take warfarin or other blood thinning tablets, please contact us as you may have to stop them prior to the procedure. If you have to stop warfarin it is usually for 5 days before your appointment and you need to have an INR done at your practice the day before and bring the result along with you on the day of the procedure. If you are taking Apixaban, Rivaroxaban, Dabigatran or Edoxaban, please omit on the day of the procedure.
If you are taking Apixaban, Rivaroxaban, Dabigatran or Edoxaban, please omit on the day of the procedure.
Unless instructed otherwise in your appointment letter You should stop the following tablets two weeks before the test, as they can mask endoscopy findings:
- Omeprazole (Losec)
- Lansoprazole (Zoton)
- Pantoprazole (Pariet)
- Esomeprazole (Nexium)
- Rabeprazole (Aciphex)
If you have been asked to stop any of the above medication you may take Gaviscon to help relieve any discomfort.
It is important to have nothing to eat or drink for 6 hours before your test.
Do I need to bring anything with me?
Make sure you bring a list of any medications you are taking. It is important to bring asthma inhalers, angina sprays and diabetic medication.
Bring your consent form. You may sign this at home if you feel you have enough information.
Do I need an anaesthetic for a gastroscopy?
A general anesthetic is not required for this procedure.
For gastroscopy many patients have the procedure carried out by numbing the back of the throat with a local anaesthetic spray. Some people opt for light intravenous sedation as well as the numbing spray. Either option will be fully discussed with you upon admission.
If you choose to have sedation, certain restrictions apply following the procedure.
You must not:
- Drive a motor vehicle
- Operate machinery including a cooker
- Drink alcohol
- Sign any legal documents
You will require an escort home.
After your procedure, you will receive your results, and be free to go home within a few minutes.
If you have sedation or pain relief, you will need to stay a short while in the unit until the effects have worn off.
The endoscopy report and results of any samples will be sent directly to your own doctor, however the results will be discussed with you and you will receive a copy of the report to take home.
You may eat and drink as normal after the examination.