What Is A Gastroscopy?

This is a procedure whereby a thin, long and flexible tube with a camera at the tip is inserted through the mouth to examine upper gastrointestinal structures. These include the oesophagus (food pipe), the stomach, and the duodenum (the first part of the small intestine). The procedure is done by a certified endoscopist (your doctor) under sedation (light or deep sleep) by a Consultant Anaesethetist.

The procedure may be:

  • Diagnostic: this will involve thorough examination and visualisation of the structures as well as tissue sampling (biopsies) of any relevant areas

  • Therapeutic: this involves treatment of tissue bleeding or narrowing or growths (polyps)

Why Do I Need A Gastroscopy?

A gastroscopy may be recommended if you have experienced the following signs or symptoms:

  • Difficulty or painful swallowing

  • Reflux

  • Nausea and/or vomiting

  • Upper abdominal pain or discomfort

  • Bleeding

  • Iron deficiency

It may also need to be done as part of regular assessment if you have a history of:

  • Barrett's oesophagus

  • Coeliac disease

  • Intestinal metaplasia

  • Gastric ulcer

How Can I Prepare for A Gastroscopy?

It is essential that the stomach is empty for the procedure therefore you will be asked to fast for a certain period of time prior to your scheduled gastroscopy. This may also affect the timing of your regular medications so please refer to the individualised instructions that are sent to you prior or discuss any questions you may have with the team.

Are There Any Risks Or Side Effects From A Gastroscopy?

Please be assured that the doctors performing your procedure are highly qualified and certified by the appropriate governing gastroenterological and endoscopy society. Complications from this procedure have been documented although they are uncommon and often rare. If you are undergoing a gastroscopy for therapeutic purposes, these may be more common.

Risks that we routinely consent for include:

  • Anaesthetic complications such as allergy or reaction to the medications, breathing or heart problems, lung infections and stroke

  • Bleeding

  • Sore throat

  • Perforation or tearing of the structures traversed by the scope which may need hospitalisation and surgical repair

If you are concerned about any of these potential adverse events or wish to explore these further, please discuss this with your doctor. If you experience any new or troubling symptoms after the procedure, please also get in touch with the medical team immediately.

Additional Information

For more information, please speak to your responsible consultant.