A gastroscopy is a procedure that enables your doctor to examine the lining of the oesophagus (food pipe/gullet), stomach, and duodenum (first part of the small intestine). Under sedation a thin flexible tube is passed through your mouth into your stomach and duodenum. During the procedure, a tissue sample (biopsy) may be taken and sent to the pathologist. The procedure takes approximately 15 minutes.
Is Gastroscopy safe?
Gastroscopy is a very safe and well tolerated procedure. It is common to feel temporary mild bloating afterwards due to inflation of the stomach. Occasionally there may be nausea or lightheadedness following the anaesthetic. Serious complications are very rare, but may include:
- Perforation (a hole in the stomach or bowel wall) which may require surgery.
- Aspiration (inhaling of stomach contents into the lung whilst sedated) which may require antibiotic treatment or hospitalization if severe.
- Teeth Damage?- whilst a protective mouthguard is used, damage may uncommonly occur.
- Death is extremely rare, although this is a possible consequence of any medical procedure.
- If you wish to discuss the details of all possible rare complications, you should inform your doctor and/or anaesthetist prior to the procedure.
What Preparation is required?
For the procedure to be accurate and good views obtained your stomach must be empty. You should have nothing to eat or drink for six hours prior to the procedure. If you have significant heart, lung or problems, you should seek advice prior to the gastroscopy. You can usually take all of your regular medication with a sip of water. If you take warfarin, Plavix, Iscover, Pradaxa, or Insulin please contact Melbourne and GI Endoscopy at least 7 days prior to the gastroscopy.
What do I need to bring?
Please bring your doctor’s referral letter if available, health fund details and Medicare card. You may need to change into a patient gown, and so please wear loose fitting clothing that can be easily removed and folded. Any jewellery and valuables should be left at home.
What happens afterwards?
You may have minor throat discomfort for a few hours which may be helped by a warm drink. You may feel temporarily bloated afterwards due to the air that was introduced to examine the stomach.
You will be drowsy afterwards due to the anaesthetic. A friend or family member must drive you home. You must not drive or operate any machinery for 24 hours afterwards. Continue taking all of your usual medications as directed.
You should contact your doctor immediately if you experience any severe abdominal pain, vomiting blood, difficulty breathing, fevers/chills, or any other symptoms you are concerned about. Alternatively, contact the closest emergency department.