Patient Information Leaflet

Upper GI Endoscopy

What is Upper Endoscopy?

Upper endoscopy is also known as gastroscopy. This test simply involves swallowing a small tube and enables your doctor to examine the lining of the upper part of your gastrointestinal tract, i.e., the oesophagus, stomach, and duodenum (first portion of the small intestine)

Why is Upper Endoscopy done?

To evaluate

  • Symptoms of persistent upper abdominal pain.
  • Persistent nausea and vomiting.
  • Difficulty in swallowing.
  • Bleeding from the upper gastrointestinal tract.
  • Weight loss.

What Preparation is Required?

The stomach must be completely empty. You should have nothing to eat or drink, including water, for approximately 6 hours before the examination. Your doctor will be more specific about the time to begin fasting, depending on the time of day that your test is arranged.

Possible Medication Adjustments

Before the test, be sure to discuss with the doctor whether you should adjust any of your usual medications before the procedure, any drug allergies you may have, and whether you have any other major diseases such as a heart or lung condition that might require special attention during the procedureor procedure.

Please stop taking:

  • Please inform if you are on any medications to thin blood such as aspirin, clopidogrel, and warfarin.
  • Stop Antacid tablets.

The examination:

This test can be done in either of 2 ways:

  • We can spray the back of your throat with a local anaesthetic to numb this area.
  • As you will not be drowsy during or after the test, we will be able to discuss result of the examination, soon after the test.
  • Also you will be able to leave hospital and carry on normally for the rest of the day after the test.
  • But you will not be able to eat or drink for at least 1 hr following the examination

We can give you a sedative injection, which will make you very relaxed and sleepy during the examination. Whilst you will appear to awake fairly rapidly after this, the medication used continues to have a mild sedative effect for up to 24hrs afterwards and this will impair your judgement

It is essential therefore that you

  • DO NOT drive a car
  • DO NOT operate machinery(including kitchen equipment)
  • DO NOT return to work
  • DO NOT drink alcohol

for at least 24 hrs following the test and that a relative or friend MUST accompany you home and stay with you overnight.

What are the Possible Complications of Upper Endoscopy?

Endoscopy is generally safe. Complications can occur but are rare and associated with therapeutic procedures.

  • Bleeding may occur from a biopsy site or where a polyp was removed. It is usually minimal and rarely requires blood transfusions or surgery.
  • Major complications, e.g., perforation (a tear that might require surgery for repair) are very uncommon.
  • Localised irritation of the vein where the medication was injected may rarely cause a tender lump lasting for several weeks, but this will go away eventually. Other potential risks include a reaction to the sedatives used and complications from heart or lung diseases

It is important for you to recognise early signs of any possible complication. If you begin to run a fever after the test, begin to have trouble swallowing, or have increasing throat, chest, or abdominal pain, let your doctor know about it promptly.