Thanks to gastroscopy, it is possible to detect diseases of the oesophagus, stomach and duodenum. This investigation can be conducted in order to investigate pain in the upper abdomen and behind the breast bone, as well as the causes of heartburn, reflux, regurgitation, swallowing difficulties, anaemia or black/bloody faeces.
Gastroscopy can be used to detect, for example, stomach ulcers, gastritis, helicobacter, coeliac disease, oesophagitis, diaphragmatic hernias, tumour and benign mucous membrane changes.
WHAT HAPPENS DURING THE PROCEDURE?
Gastroscopies are conducted on an out-patient basis. Because the stomach has to be empty during the procedure, the patient fasts for the preceding six hours. The patient lies on their side during the procedure. The gastroscope is inserted through the mouth to the area that is to be examined (throat, oesophagus, stomach and onwards to the duodenum). While this is being done, it is possible to take biopsies at the same time for later analysis by a pathologist. The procedure takes about 10–15 minutes and is pain free.
The patient can choose to undergo the procedure under a mild general anaesthetic (sedation) or local anaesthetic in their throat.
The patient can return home as soon as the procedure is complete. If the procedure has been performed under a mild general anaesthetic, the patient wakes up in the hospital’s recovery room in one to two hours, after which it is beneficial to have someone to accompany them on the journey home.
Following local anaesthetic in the throat, the patient can eat or drink after about one hour. Results from any biopsies taken will be available about two weeks after the procedure. Time off work is not usually required.