Gastroscopy

What is a gastroscopy?

A gastroscopy is a medical procedure during which an endoscope (a thin flexible tube with a video camera at the end) is passed through the mouth and into the stomach. It allows your doctor to examine and treat conditions affecting the oesophagus, stomach and the first part of the small intestine.

Why is a gastroscopy performed?

A gastroscopy is usually done to investigate symptoms of the upper digestive tract. These commonly include abdominal pain, heartburn, indigestion, difficulty swallowing and nausea or vomiting.

A gastroscopy can also be used to treat various gut-related conditions and allows your doctor to treat digestive tract bleeding, to dilate a narrowing, to place a stent or resect abnormal tissue.

How do I prepare for a gastroscopy?

A gastroscopy requires very little preparation. For safety reasons, and to ensure a complete procedure, it is essential that your stomach is completely empty. You should therefore have nothing to eat or drink for 6 hours prior to your procedure.

Whilst most medications can be taken as usual with a sip of water on the day of your procedure, some medications need to be stopped, or have their dose altered. 

You should notify your doctor at least 7 days prior to your procedure if you are taking:

  • Blood thinners (clopigogrel, warfarin, pradaxa, eliquis etc)
  • Diabetes medications (metformin, insulin, ‘gliflozins’)

Please bring your referral, a full list of your medications and your Medicare card/Health Fund information on the day of your procedure.

What will happen on the day?

– After registering at reception, you will be checked in by a nurse.
– You will then be seen by your Gastroenterologist and your Anaesthetist who will discuss your medical history and the procedure.
– You will then be given a light anaesthetic (sedative). While this is not a full anaesthetic, most patients are very comfortable during the procedure and do not experience any pain.
– Once sedated and lying in a comfortable position on your left side the endoscope is passed through your mouth and into your stomach. The procedure usually lasts between 5 and 10mins.

What happens after my gastroscopy?

Following the procedure you will be monitored in the recovery area until most of the sedative medication has worn off. You will then be offered something to eat and drink. Because of the sedative medication, it is essential that you have a friend or relative take you home and stay with you for several hours. It is strongly recommended that you do not drive, operate machinery or sign legal documents on the same day after the test.

Are there any risks or side-effects?

Overall a gastroscopy is a very safe procedure that most patients tolerate extremely well. While not common, minor side effects can include:

– mild throat soreness

–  abdominal discomfort related to retained air in the stomach.

More serious but rare complications can also occur and include bleeding, or a tear in the lining of the stomach (perforation). If this happens you will be admitted to hospital for an operation to repair it.

Please contact Gastro IQ or your nearest emergency department if you have concerns or experience any of the following symptoms following your gastroscopy:

  • Worsening chest or abdominal pain
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Fever
  • Other symptoms that cause you concern.

Your Gastroenterologist will discuss having a gastroscopy with you in detail, however if you have any questions or concerns prior to, or after, the procedure please do not hesitate to contact us.