Upper GI endoscopy or gastroscopy is the examination of the upper gastrointestinal tract (oesophagus, stomach and duodenum) using a specialised long, thin video camera with a light on the end. It is used to diagnose and treat many upper gastrointestinal tract problems.
These can include:
- Investigation of acid reflux
- Investigation of swallowing difficulties
- Indigestion symptoms
- Unintentional weight loss
- Investigation of abdominal pains, especially in the upper abdomen
- Diagnosis and treatment of peptic ulcers
- Treatment of narrowing of the oesophagus (strictures) by balloon stretch
- Insertion of gastric balloons to aid excess weight loss
Preparing for Upper GI Endoscopy
You will firstly be assessed by Mr Alsem Agwunobi to ensure you are going to have the procedure for the right reasons and understand what it involves. We will want know your full medical history (any diabetes, heart or lung problems etc.). Please also inform us of all medications that you take, including over the counter remedies and any blood thinning medications.
Upper GI endoscopy is done as a day procedure, either with or without sedation.
If you are having sedation, please ensure you make arrangements for someone to pick you up afterwards because you will not be able to drive yourself home. You should not eat for at least six hours prior to the test to allow better views of the stomach. You may have sips of water up to two hours before.
When you arrive at the hospital you will be checked in at reception and then taken to your room. A member of the Apple Surgical Clinic medical team will visit you in your room and talk you through the procedure once more and obtain your consent (if this had not already been done). You will also be able to ask any further questions.
You will then be admitted by the nursing staff and requested to change into a hospital gown in preparation for your endoscopy.
During the Procedure
Once inside the endoscopy room the team will do everything they can to make you as comfortable and relaxed as possible.
You will have a final check by the team and a local anaesthetic throat spray will be administered to minimise gag reflex. You will be asked to lie on your left side and connected to a machine that monitors your pulse, blood pressure and oxygen levels throughout the procedure. A sedative will be administered to make feel relaxed and a little drowsy (unless you have opted not to have one) and a protective mouthpiece will be inserted to keep your mouth open.
The thin, flexible endoscope is then carefully passed down your throat to examine your upper gastrointestinal tract and assess any abnormalities. During the test it may be necessary to take tissue samples, or biopsies, for further analysis. Some conditions can be treated at the same time, such as stretching a narrow oesophagus, or removing foreign bodies.
During the procedure you should not feel pain, but you may feel a sensation of wind and bloating as air is passed down to get a clear view of your upper GI tract. This quickly passes off as soon as the test is over.
Are there any potential complications of Upper GI Endoscopy?
These are incredibly rare. The vast majority of the time upper GI endoscopy is carried out with no problems at all.
Very rarely the gastroscope can cause a tiny tear in the gullet, but this tends to be when the lumen of the gullet is narrow. Another occasional problem is bleeding from the site where a tissue sample or biopsy has been taken.
What happens after the procedure?
You will return to the recovery room where you will closely monitored until most of the effects of the sedative have worn off. You will then go back to your room with instructions on when to start eating and drinking again. Mr Agwunobi will visit you to give you the results of the test.
Results of tissue samples may take another week to come back, at which time we will notify you. Copies of the test results and any ongoing recommendations will also be sent to your GP.
You will then be ready to go home. Please ensure you have someone to collect you from the hospital if you have had sedation. Stay at home for the rest of the day to recuperate and do not operate any fine machinery for 24 hours.
Please ensure you consult a healthcare professional before making decisions about your health.