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Gastroscopy patient information
Gastroscopy is an endoscopy of the upper gastrointestinal tract that allows a physician to examine the oesophagus, stomach, and duodenum using a flexible tubular optical instrument (endoscope). This examination can help find out the cause of complaints (such as abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, difficulties swallowing) and detect visible changes in the oesophagus, stomach or duodenum. Gastroscopy is more accurate than an X-ray examination and allows samples (biopsies) to be taken during the examination, which can then be studied under a microscope.
PREPARATION FOR THE PROCEDURE
- For gastroscopy, the stomach must be empty, so do not eat, drink or smoke for 6-8 hours before the examination.
- Removable dentures, tongue and lip rings, etc. must be removed before the examination.
- Tell your physician before the examination if you are taking blood thinners (e.g. aspirin, including ‘cardiac aspirin’, Marevan, clopidogrel).
- If possible, take a list of your medications and their doses with you.
- If you are taking Marevan, tell your doctor the last INR result.
DESCRIPTION OF THE PROCEDURE
You will be asked to lie on your left side for the examination. The endoscope is inserted orally into the oesophagus, stomach and duodenum, and by dilating these organs with air, pathological changes can be found. The examination lasts around 10-15 minutes and does not cause pain. There may be discomfort in the upper abdomen and a feeling of throwing up during the examination. You may also feel throat discomfort during the examination, but your airways are clear and there is no obstruction to your breathing.
If necessary, the examination is performed under anaesthesia. In this case, the anaesthetist will inject you with a sedative medication before the examination.
If your procedure will be performed under general anaesthesia (anaesthesia), please read the anaesthesia information leaflet in advance.
After the procedure
- You may experience a slight sore throat and a feeling of fullness due to the introduction of air into the stomach. Complaints usually go away within a few hours. Unless your physician tells you otherwise, you can eat and drink immediately after the examination.
- If the examination was performed under anaesthesia, you may feel drowsy under the influence of anaesthetics after the examination and you will need to be under medical supervision for 30 to 90 minutes. During the same day, you are not advised to drive, use complex machines or tools or make important decisions (sign legal documents etc.).
POSSIBLE RISKS ASSOCIATED WITH GASTROSCOPY
Gastroscopy is a safe procedure in which complications are rare:
- bleeding after sampling is usually minimal and does not require blood transfusions or surgery
- perforation of the oesophagus or stomach wall is very rare but requires surgical treatment
If you have any further questions about gastroscopy, ask your physician or a nurse. If you experience severe abdominal pain or bleeding after the examination, call 112 immediately or go to the emergency department of the nearest hospital.