What is a gastroscopy?
A gastroscopy is a test done when the doctor want to look at the upper part of the gut with a camera. This normally includes the gullet, the stomach and the first part of the bowel known as the duodenum. A gastroscopy can be performed if the patient suffer from heartburn, indigestion, vomiting blood or if there is any suspicions of blood loss from the gut.Credit: http://www.andrea-digestive-clinic.com/index.php/services/gastroscopy/
How is the gastroscopy done?
1) First, a spray is squirted at the back of your mouth to stop you from gagging.
2) Then a thin flexible tube about the width of a finger which has a camera attached is passed through your mouth and into your gullet.
3) The camera allows the doctor to view the inside of the gullet, the stomach and inside the first part of the bowel.
4) Often they will take pictures so that they can see if there has been any disease progression or to keep a track of the changes.
5) The doctor can also take samples from your gut to help find out what might be causing any problems.
6) Sometimes, if there are any problems in your gut such as any bleeding the doctor can treat it for you. If there are polyps then the doctor can remove them.
I feel a bit nervous about the whole thing, what can I do?
If you are a little bit anxious about the procedure some medication through the veins can be given to sedate you. But if you take this option you will not be able to drive, operate any machine or drink any alcohol for 24 hours. It is also recommend that some takes you home afterward the procedure.Credit: http://www.medindia.net/healthnews/Gastroscopy-news.asp
Risk of a gastroscopy
There is very small chance, 1 in 3000 chance that during the procedure the gut can tear. This is known as a perforation. If that does happen then the doctor will need to treat it via surgery and you may need to be given some blood. If you are given sedation, your breathing may become reduced so it is always monitor using a probe on your finger to find out if you ever need any extra oxygen. Overall the risks are very small and under the care of a fully qualified doctor you are in good hands.
After the procedure
After the procedure the patients are often taken to a post recovery room where they are allowed to rest until they feel okay. Normally patients rest for about 30 minutes before they are able to go home.You may feel that your throat is sore for a day or so because of the spray that was placed at the back of the throat. You might experience a little bloating aswell, but that should go within the day. If you experience any problems please make sure you see your doctor or seek medical help. Things you should watch out for include bleeding from the back passage, black tarry stools and vomiting blood.