What is gastroscopy?
Gastroscopy (also known as OGD or upper endoscopy) is a diagnostic procedure to examine the inner lining of the oesophagus (gullet), stomach and duodenum (first part of the small intestine). It is done in the endoscopy centre. During gastroscopy, a soft flexible telescope camera tube is inserted through the mouth and into the stomach and duodenum.
Why is a gastroscopy performed?
Gastroscopy is performed to evaluate the symptoms of persistent upper abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, difficulty swallowing or heartburn. It is also an excellent method for identifying the cause of upper gastrointestinal bleeding. Biopsies can be taken using specialized instruments to sample tissue.
What preparation is required?
The stomach should be completely empty. You should have nothing to eat or drink for 4 – 6 hours before gastroscopy. You will most likely be given IV sedation during the procedure and an arrangement to have someone take you home afterwards is important. Sedatives will affect your judgement and reflexes for the rest of the day. You should not drive or operate machinery until the next day.
What can be expected during gastroscopy?
You will have your throat sprayed with a local anaesthetic before the procedure and an injection through a vein to help you relax and better tolerate any discomfort that you may experience. You will be laid on your side as the scope is gently passed through your mouth into your oesophagus, stomach and duodenum. Air is puffed into your stomach during the scope to allow a better view of the stomach lining. The procedure usually last about 10 minutes. The scope does not interfere with your breathing.
What if gastroscopy shows an abnormality?
If your doctor sees an area of abnormality that needs more careful evaluation, a biopsy may be taken and submitted to the laboratory for detailed microscopic analysis. Biopsies do not mean cancer.
What complications can occur?
Gastroscopy is very safe and complications are very rare. Some people have a mild sore throat for a day or two after gastroscopy.
What happens after gastroscopy?
The results of your gastroscopy will be explained to you after your procedure at the clinic. You may have some mild bloatedness because of the air pumped in during the procedure to inflate the stomach for visualisation. The bloatedness will improve rapidly when the inflated air is extracted after the procedure or when you pass out the residual air naturally. You should be able to eat normally and return to your normal activities after leaving the hospital on the same day.