What is gastroscopy and why is it done?

Gastroscopy is a safe, painless, and short procedure (takes a few minutes).

It is performed to investigate symptoms of the upper digestive tract such as heartburn, upper abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, difficulty in swallowing, belching, and difficulty in digesting. These symptoms may be due to a condition of the esophagus, stomach or duodenum. It is safe and the best way to test for the above symptoms because it helps to an accurate diagnosis and confirmation by taking tissue for biopsy when indicated.

It is also the best test to find the cause of bleeding in the upper digestive tract. With the help of gastroscopy, therapeutic interventions can also be performed, like bleeding control, removal of a foreign body from the stomach (dentures, coins, etc.), removal of polyps etc.

Finally, with the help of gastroscopy more complex therapeutic interventions can be performed, such as restoring an esophageal stenosis by placing a metal tube (stent) balloon dilatation of strictures, gastrostomy, etc.

The latest technology Fujifilm Eluxeo 700 endoscopes that we use help in detecting very small lesions.

The patient can eat a light meal the night before and fluids until midnight and cannot receive food or fluids on the day of the test.

Most medications are continued as usual until the night before the test. However, please let us know if you are taking anticoagulants (Warfarin, Xarelto, Eliquis, heparin, clopidogrel – Plavix, etc.).

Don’t forget to report any allergies to medicines.

In case of pregnancy please let us know.

The patient comes to the appointment with an escort and not alone as he/she is not allowed to drive after the examination.

Arriving at the endoscopy unit, a nurse will take you to the examination preparation area and will receive the consent form for the examination that you have signed. You will also need to remove artificial dentures as well as eyeglasses that will be kept safe by the unit staff until the end of the test.

Gastroscopy is performed with the patient lying on the examination bed on the left hand side. A special sensor is placed on the patient’s finger to record pulse and oxygen saturation in the blood during the examination. Local oral anesthesia (xylocaine) will be given, and through a tube placed in a vein in your arm (vein catheter) you will be given mild sedation which will relax you so that the test can be tolerated without any discomfort.

The doctor will then insert a delicate and extremely flexible oral endoscope by pushing it into the pharynx, esophagus, stomach and finally into the duodenum, examining each section thoroughly and taking biopsies for more specialized testing if necessary. This endoscope is called gastroscope and has a small camera at its end that emits light that allows the doctor to take detailed images of the upper digestive tract on a special high-definition screen.

The esophagus, stomach and duodenum are checked during the examination. A test sample is taken to check for Helicobacter pylori (a bacterium that has been implicated in causing certain diseases such as ulcers or gastritis) and, if necessary, further biopsies are taken.

After the examination, the patient wakes up in a few minutes. He/She stays in bed for a while and then talks to the doctor about the results of the test and if necessary, treatment is given.

He/She is not allowed to drive or operate machinery for a few hours as his/her reflexes may be reduced due to anesthesia.

Very rarely, there is some discomfort or a bloating in the abdomen due to the air used during the examination or some discomfort in the throat. These are symptoms that soon subside.

You will be able to eat after your departure unless your doctor tells you otherwise.

Gastroscopy is a very safe test.

Rarely, side effects may occur (venous irritation or allergy to intravenous drugs).

Laryngeal irritation is one of the side effects that disappears after a few hours.

Note: Gastroscopy can be combined with colonoscopy when the colon needs to be investigated.