What is a Gastroscopy (or Upper GI Endoscopy)?
Gastroscopy involves inserting a flexible telescope (gastroscope) through your mouth to view your oesophagus, stomach and duodenum.
No preparation is required for this procedure but you must fast (that is nothing to eat or drink) for 6 hours prior to admission.
What about my usual medications?
In general, these should all be taken as usual. Exceptions will include:
- Warfarin and other blood thinning drugs
- Aspirin and other anti-inflammatory drugs
- Insulin or other diabetic tablets
- Iron supplements
- Any herbal drugs (you will need to check with the manufacturers as to what these contain).
The need to stop these medications will be discussed with Dr Towsey beforehand.
It is also necessary to inform the anaesthetist of all medications, past medical history and allergies.
What happens during the procedure?
As the gastroscope is passed into your stomach, gas is blown in to help see the inner lining. Biopsies can be collected to look for inflammation, tumours, or Helicobacter pylori (the bacteria associated with stomach ulcers). Additionally, any sites of bleeding can be treated.
The procedure usually takes 20-30 minutes.
Will I be awake during the procedure?
An anaesthetist will usually be present and you will have the opportunity to discuss this further with them. Although it is not normally a general anaesthetic, you will be heavily sedated and often will not recall the procedure.
How will I know what is found at the endoscopy?
Your Dr will speak with you and/or your family members immediately after the procedure. Often you are still groggy when you talk to Dr Towsey, so you are more than welcome to phone his rooms the following day. Additionally, the results of any biopsies are usually available then. A formal report is sent to your general practitioner and copies can also be sent to any other doctors you nominate who are involved in your care.
Effects of Sedation / Safety Issues:
Even though you may feel OK after the procedure, small amounts of sedative will remain in your bloodstream. For this reason, you must not drive a car or operate machinery for 12 hours after the procedure. Failure to follow this advice carries the same implications as drink driving and is against the law.
You should also not sign any contracts or make important decisions for 24 hours.
You should not consume alcohol as the sedative effects will be increased.
You should be cautious with simple tasks around the house – e.g. using knives, etc.
You must be taken home and cared for overnight by a responsible person.