Procedure and Other Details

It is an upper gastrointestinal (GI) endoscopy or oesophago-gastro duodenoscopy (OGD). It is an examination of the lining of your gullet (oesophagus), stomach, and the first part of your intestine (duodenum). It is performed by passing a gastroscope (a flexible tube with a small camera at the end) through your mouth and into your stomach. The complete test takes approximately 5-10 minutes, but if treatments are carried out procedures do take longer.

Although there are alternatives your doctor has decided that this is the best test to find the cause of your symptoms. A barium meal x-ray examination is an alternative investigation. It is not as informative as a Gastroscopy and has the added disadvantage that tissue samples cannot be taken.

  • If you are a Diabetic or taking Warfarin, Aspirin or Clopidogrel tablets please contact the hospital.
  • In order to examine the stomach properly, it must be empty.
  • Do not eat anything for four hours or drink anything for two hours before your appointment time.
  • Before the procedure you will be seen by a qualified nurse and the Endoscopist and you will have the opportunity to discuss any problems or worries.
  • You will be asked to sign a consent form indicating that you understand the nature and risks of the procedure. The consent form is a legal document, therefore please read it carefully.
  • Please leave any valuables at home

You have a choice as to whether the test is carried out using local anaesthetic applied as a spray to your throat or a sedative injection to make you feel drowsy and relaxed.

  • Examination using local anaesthetic spray
  • Local anaesthetic spray is applied to the back of your throat to make it numb. You will not be sleepy and will be able to go home soon after the test. The spray numbs your throat, so you will be unable to eat or drink for one hour after the test.
  • Examination using a sedative injection
  • The sedative injection makes you sleepy, relaxed and less anxious. It is not a general anaesthetic and you will not be unconscious, but it is unlikely you will remember much about the test. In addition you could have a combination of local anaesthetic throat spray and conscious sedation.

  • You may have a sore throat and you may feel bloated

If you have throat spray:

  • You will be able to go home soon after the test is completed.
  • You will be unable to eat or drink for one hour after the test.

If you have sedation:

  • You will be transferred to the recovery area, where a qualified nurse will observe you until the effects of the sedation have worn off.
  • A relative or friend must collect you directly from the ward to take you home after your test. Please liaise with the ward staff to arrange collection time. You will not be fit to go home by public transport.
  • Once home you should rest quietly for the remainder of the day.
  • Please ensure a responsible adult remains with you until the next morning as the after effects of the injection may make you sleepy and forgetful for 24 hours after the test

If you had sedation for 24 hours after the test you should not:

  • Go to work
  • Drive a vehicle
  • Operate machinery (including household appliances)
  • Drink alcohol/take sleeping tablets/recreational drugs
  • Sign any legal documents
  • Have a bath unsupervised
  • Be left alone to care for children

These occur extremely infrequently, the doctor who has requested the test will have considered this. The risks must be compared to the benefit of having the procedure done.

  • A sore throat after the examination is common and should resolve after a few hours.
  • There is a small risk of damage to crowned teeth or dental bridgework.
  • Complications include perforation or tear of the intestine or bleeding. These complications occur in less than 1 in 2000 examinations but may require urgent treatment or an operation.
  • A reaction to the drugs used during the gastroscopy may require you to stay in hospital.
  • Inhalation of gastric contents can cause pneumonia which would require antibiotic treatment.
  • If biopsies are taken, bleeding may occur at the site of the biopsy, and nearly always stops on its own.

  • If you have chosen throat spray, the results of the test may be discussed with you straightaway.
  • Sedation makes you forgetful but the endoscopist will discuss the results of the test with you, if you wish.
  • If you have had biopsies taken you will receive the results at your out patient appointment or by letter.
  • A full report will be sent to your doctor.