A gastroscopy (gastrointestinal endoscopy) is commonly performed if your doctor suspects you have inflammation, ulcer or other abnormalities of the oesophagus (the pipe that connects the throat to the stomach), stomach or duodenum using a flexible tube to carry out a full colour inspection of these regions. It also allows biopsies to be taken from the small bowel, stomach and oesophagus. Download Gastroscopy Information Sheet and Gastroscopy Consent
What is a gastroscopy/endoscopy?
Upper endoscopy enables the physician to look inside the oesophagus, stomach, and duodenum (first part of the small intestine). The procedure might be used to discover the reason for swallowing difficulties, nausea, vomiting, reflux, bleeding, indigestion, abdominal pain, or chest pain. Upper endoscopy is also called EGD, which stands for oesophagogastroduodenoscopy (eh-SAH-fuh-goh-GAS-troh-doo-AH-duh-NAH-skuh-pee).
For the procedure you will swallow a thin, flexible, lighted tube called an endoscope (EN-doh-skope). An anaesthetist will administer a strong sedative prior to starting the gastroscopy which will put you to sleep during the procedure. The endoscope transmits an image of the inside of the oesophagus, stomach, and duodenum, so the physician can carefully examine the lining of these organs. The scope also blows air into the stomach; this expands the folds of tissue and makes it easier for the physician to examine the stomach.
The physician can see abnormalities, like inflammation or bleeding, through the endoscope that don’t show up well on x rays. The physician can also insert instruments into the scope to treat bleeding abnormalities or remove samples of tissue (biopsy) for further tests.
Possible complications of upper endoscopy include bleeding and puncture of the stomach lining. However, such complications are rare. Most people will probably have nothing more than a mild sore throat after the procedure.
The procedure takes 20 to 30 minutes. Because you will be sedated, you will need to rest at the endoscopy facility for 1 to 2 hours until the medication wears off.
Your stomach and duodenum must be empty for the procedure to be thorough and safe, so you will not be able to eat or drink anything for at least 6 hours beforehand. Also, you must arrange for someone to take you home—you will not be allowed to drive because of the sedatives. Your physician may give you other special instructions.