Having a gastroscopy
Dr Chirag J Shah - Top G I Surgeon in Ahmedabad
Having a gastroscopy – examination of the oesophagus, stomach and small intestine
This leaflet explains more about having a gastroscopy, including the benefits, risks and
any alternatives and what you can expect when you come to hospital. If you have any
further questions, please speak to a doctor or nurse caring for you.
What is a gastroscopy
A gastroscopy is an examination that allows us to look directly at the upper part of the
gastrointestinal tract: the esophagus (the tube that food passes down to reach the stomach); the
stomach and around the first bend of the small intestine (duodenum).
In order to do this, a thin flexible tube called a gastroscope or endoscope, which has a light at
one end, is used. It is passed through the mouth, down the oesophagus, and into the stomach
by a specially trained doctor or nurse called an endoscopist. The tube is thinner than your little
finger. It will not get in the way of your breathing at any time, as it passes down your
esophagus and not your windpipe.
Sometimes biopsies (small tissue samples) are taken and sent for analysis. The biopsies were taken
are about the size of a match head and will not cause you any pain.
Why should I have a gastroscopy
Your doctor/specialist nurse has recommended that you have a gastroscopy to find out the cause of your symptoms, such as:
- • Pain in the Upper Abdomen (tummy)
- • Difficulty Swallowing
- • Recurring Indigestion
- • Vomiting
- • Bleeding
- • Recurring Heartburn.
- • Monitoring of a Long-term Condition.
Best Doctor For Gastric Problem in Ahmedabad
It can also be used to check a previously diagnosed gastrointestinal condition.
A gastroscopy can help to diagnose:
- • ulcers
- • inflammation
- • infection
- • the presence of Helicobacter pylori (bacteria that can cause ulcers, gastritis and gastric cancer)
- • celiac disease (inability to digest gluten)
- • cancer
What are the risks
A gastroscopy is a safe test – serious complications are uncommon. Occasionally the
gastroscope can damage the lining of the esophagus, stomach or intestine. This can cause:
- • bleeding
- • infection
- • rarely, a tear in the esophagus or stomach.
If this happens to you, you may need to have a blood transfusion, come into hospital or have
surgery to treat the problem.
Your doctor or specialist nurse will discuss the possible complications with you before you sign
the consent form.
Are there any alternatives
An alternative is to have a barium meal. This involves having an X-ray after drinking some
barium liquid. As X-rays can’t go through barium, the outline of your stomach shows up on the
X-ray picture. However, you may still need a gastroscopy if any abnormalities are found. A
barium test involves radiation and is less accurate than an endoscopy. However, samples or
biopsies of the gut or polyps cannot be removed during a barium test, so you may still need a
How can I prepare for a gastroscopy
To make sure the endoscopist performing the gastroscopy has a clear view, your stomach must
be completely empty. Therefore, you must not eat or drink anything for at least six hours before
When you arrive at the unit the receptionist will ask you to sit in the waiting area until you are
seen by a nurse, who will ask you about your medical history. Please tell the nurse if you have
had any reactions or allergies to other examinations in the past.
You do not need to get changed for the procedure but we may ask you to put a gown on over
your clothes to protect them. Once you are ready you will be taken to the second waiting area,
signposted, ‘sub-wait area.’ Your endoscopist (the doctor or nurse carrying out the procedure)
will explain more about the procedure and answer any questions you may still have.
You should have had a chance to discuss any medications you are taking with one of our
nurses or doctors before your procedure. If you are taking anti-platelet medication or
anticoagulant medication to prevent the formation of blood clots (such as aspirin or clopidogrel,
warfarin, rivaroxaban or dabigatran); sedatives, chronic pain medication, or medications for
diabetes, please let the doctor or nurse know in good time before the date of your procedure.
You should continue to take all of your medications as normal unless you have been told
otherwise by the doctor or endoscopy nurse.
Giving my consent (permission)
We want to involve you in decisions about your care and treatment. If you decide to go ahead,
you will be asked to sign a consent form. This states that you agree to have the treatment and
you understand what it involves.
You should receive the leaflet, Helping you decide: our consent policy, which gives you
more information. If you do not, please ask a member of staff caring for you for a copy.
What happens during a gastroscopy?
The test will take place in one of the procedure rooms, where a nurse will ask you to remove
your shoes, loosen any constricting clothing and remove any false teeth or glasses. You will
need to keep your belongings with you at all times.
You will be given either sedation or an anesthetic throat spray for the examination. Your
endoscopist will have already have discussed with you which one you would prefer. The
sedation will not put you to sleep but will make you feel drowsy and relaxed. The anesthetic
spray will only numb your throat.
If you decided to have sedation, then a small needle will be inserted into your arm or hand and
you will be given an injection through this.
You will be placed on your left side on a trolley. A nurse will stay with you throughout the
examination. To keep your mouth slightly open, a mouthpiece will be placed between your
teeth. The gastroscope will be gently inserted into your mouth and passed down into the
stomach. If you have excess saliva in your mouth, the nurse will clear this using a sucker.
The endoscopist may pass some air down the gastroscope to get a clearer view. This may
make you feel slightly bloated but will not be painful.
Sometimes a biopsy (a sample of tissue) will be taken for analysis in the laboratory. The tissue
is removed through the gastroscope using tiny forceps. Very rarely this is uncomfortable, but the
discomfort should pass quickly.
The test usually lasts between five and fifteen minutes. When the examination is finished, the
gastroscope will be removed quickly and painlessly.
What happens after a gastroscopy
After the procedure, you will be taken to the recovery area. If you have had sedation, you will need to rest quietly until the sedative has worn off (usually a couple of hours). The nurse will check your blood pressure and pulse and offer you some tea and biscuits. If you have not had sedation you will be taken to the discharge area where you will be given a copy of the test results and you will be able to leave the hospital straight afterward. However, you will not be able to eat or drink anything until your swallow reflex returns which usually takes about 45 minutes. After this, you will be able to eat and drink as normal, unless the doctor or nurse tells you otherwise. If you have sedation, you must have someone to escort you home and stay with you for 24 hours. He/she should come with you for the appointment or be contactable by phone when you are ready to leave. If you do not have an escort or have not arranged for someone to collect you, then your procedure will be canceled. If you are unable to arrange someone to collect you, please contact us to discuss alternative arrangements.
When will I get the results
The doctor or specialist nurse will often be able to tell you your results before you leave the hospital. If you have had a sedative, it is a good idea to have someone with you when the results are being discussed, as you may not remember all of the details afterward, due to the sedative. If you have had biopsies taken the results may take up to two weeks to become available.
What do I need to do after I go home
After the procedure, you will be taken to the recovery area. If you have had sedation, you will need to rest quietly until the sedative has worn off (usually a couple of hours). The nurse will check your blood pressure and pulse and offer you some tea and biscuits. If you have not had sedation you will be taken to the discharge area where you will be given a copy of the test results and you will be able to leave the hospital straight afterward. You may still feel a little bloated from the air passed into your bowel during the procedure but this should pass quite quickly. The results of any biopsies or polyps taken during the test will generally be available within two weeks of the test. You and your GP will receive a letter with the results and any recommendations for your care and treatment.
You may be given an appointment to come back to the clinic for these results: This may be given to you on the same day of your procedure if it is urgent. Otherwise, it will be sent in the post. If you have sedation, you must have someone to escort you home and stay with you for 24 hours. He/she should come with you for the appointment or be contactable by phone when you are ready to leave. If you do not have an escort or have not arranged for someone to collect you, then your procedure will be canceled. If you are unable to arrange someone to collect you, please contact us to discuss alternative arrangements. The sedation lasts longer than you may think, so in the first 24 hours after your examination, you should not:
- • Drive or Ride a Bicycle
- • Operate Machinery or Do Anything Requiring Skill or Judgment
- • Drink Alcohol
- • Take Sleeping Tablets
- • Go to Work
- • Make Any Important Decisions, Sign Contracts or Legal Documents.
You should rest at home following your procedure, you can eat and drink normally and should
be able to carry out your normal activities 24 hours after the test.