A Gastroscopy is a day case procedure that is done with or without sedation. The reason that a gastroscopy is done is to evaluate symptoms that appear to arise from the upper Gastrointestinal tract. These symptoms may include indigestion (dyspepsia), heartburn, difficulty in swallowing (dysphagia), nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain and the investigation of weight loss. It is also done if Coeliac disease (an allergy to gluten in wheat, rye and barley) is suspected to take samples (biopsies) from the small bowel beyond the stomach. During a Gastroscopy, it is possible to evaluate the oesophagus (gullet), stomach and duodenum (the first part of the small bowel).
It is also possible to dilate benign blockages of the gullet. It generally requires a number of treatments, but is a procedure I offer.
As you will have likely been seen in clinic beforehand, sedation will have been discussed with you already. The sedation that is used for endoscopy is midazolam that is given to you through a canula (plastic tube inserted into a vein in your arm prior to the procedure). This is a short acting sedative that will generally make you drowsy and also forget what is happening during the procedure. In the doses that are used for endoscopy, it is generally safe with very few side effects.
There are certain medical conditions such as chest conditions that may preclude the use of sedation, but if there are no medical reasons not to use it, you can choose to have sedation as long as you bring someone to take you home and look after you for at least 12 hours after the procedure. You should not drive for 24 hours after sedation or operate machinery and certainly not sign any important documents.
If, on the other hand, you have the procedure unsedated, just prior to the procedure starting, your throat will be sprayed with a local anaesthetic. The effect can last up to an hour and whilst you will be free to leave soon after the procedure, you will not be able to eat and drink for up to an hour until it has worn off.
During the procedure itself, a mouth guard will be placed in your mouth to protect your teeth and oxygen will be given through a tube that is placed in your nostril. The procedure itself generally lasts 5 to 10 minutes and photos and samples may well be taken.
Gastroscopy is a very safe procedure and complications and adverse events are rare. Complications that could occur include perforation (causing a tear in the gullet or stomach) and this may require either medicines or surgery if it were to occur. Bleeding also rarely occurs and this is more likely if you are taking medicines to thin the blood such as warfarin or clopidogrel. It is important that you tell me and the nursing staff about the medications that you are on. Please click here to make an enquiry.