Gastroscopy

What is a gastroscopy?

A gastroscopy is an endoscopic procedure used to examine upper sections of the digestive/gastrointestinal tract. The organs examined are the oesophagus, stomach and duodenum. It is performed through the use of a long flexible tube (called an endoscope) with a light and camera at the end.

Why do a gastroscopy?

A gastroscopy is used to investigate or treat a variety of conditions, these include:

  • Abbdominal pain

  • Heartburn/indigestion

  • Swallowing difficulties

  • Loss of weight

  • Loss of appetite

  • Anaemia

  • Iron deficiency

  • Gastric ulcers

  • Nausea and/or vomiting

  • Coeliac disease

  • Diarrhoea

How is a gastroscopy performed?

A gastroscopy is performed by a specialist to investigate one of the above conditions. The procedure is performed typically under sedation/anaesthetic. The procedure takes 5-15 minutes during which time the specialist will carefully examine the lining of the bowel.

 

Tissue samples (biopsies) may be taken depending on the reason for the procedure. Precancerous lesions (polyps) may also be removed during the procedure. Following the gastroscopy, you may feel bloated due to use of air to inflate the bowel during the procedure.

What preparation is needed for a gastroscopy?

Fasting for at least 4 hours is the only preparation needed for a gastroscopy. As the procedure is typically under sedation/anaesthesia, you will require a responsible adult to accompany you home following the procedure and refrain from driving for the remainder of the day.

What are the risks of a gastroscopy?

Gastroscopy is an extremely well tolerated procedure. In the majority of patients there are no side effects or complications from the procedure. The most common side effect is bloating/fullness after the gastroscopy as a result of air used during the procedure.

Other complications include:

  • Perforation

  • Bleeding

  • Aspiration/anaesthetic complications

  • Failure to complete

  • Missed lesions

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