Gastroscopy | Endoscopy

Definition

This test is a very accurate way of looking at the lining of your upper digestive tract, and to establish whether there is any disease present. The instrument used in this investigation is called a gastroscope. It is flexible tube and has a diameter less than that of the little finger.

Within each gastroscope is an illumination channel which enables light to be directed onto the lining of your upper digestive tract and another which relays pictures back to the endoscopist onto a television screen. During the investigation, the doctor may need to take some tissue samples (biopsies) from the lining of your upper digestive tract for analysis: this is painless. A video recording and/ or photographs may be taken for your records.

Preparation. It is necessary to abstain from food and fluids for a period of 6 hours prior to a gastroscopy.

Indications for gastroscopy (endoscopy)

Symptoms:

  • Dyspepsia
  • Dysphagia
  • Odynophagia
  • Pyrosis
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Heartburn
  • Water brash
  • Acid brash
  • Non-cardiac chest pain
  • Abdominal bloating

Malignancy surveillance:

  • Barrett’s oesophagus
  • Gastric polyps
  • Familiar polyposis syndromes
  • Gastric ulcer
  • Oesophageal Ulcer
  • Marginal (post-gastrectomy ulcer)

Other circumstances:

  • Reflux surveillance
  • Occult gastrointestinal bleeding
  • Iron deficiency anaemia
  • Oesophageal varices
  • Malabsorption – coeliac, lactose intolerance etc

Risks associated with the procedure

  • Aspiration pneumonia – vomiting under anaesthesia into the lungs which can cause a lung infection
  • Damage to the oesophagus requiring hospitalisation, antibiotics or sometimes surgery
  • Bleeding – a little bleeding may occur after large polyp removal. However, excessive bleeding although rare is still a known risk

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