What is a Gastroscopy?
Oesophago-Gastro-Duodenoscopy (OGD), also called Gastroscopy, is a procedure that enables your doctor to examine the lining of the esophagus, stomach and the first segment of the small intestine (duodenum). It is performed in the endoscopy suite.
A soft, bendable tube much thinner than a finger is gently inserted into the mouth and advanced in. With the use of a video camera, Gastroscopy enables your doctor to examine the upper gastrointestinal tract.
Who should have a Gastroscopy?
A Gastroscopy is performed for:
- Gastric cancer screening
- Patients with ulcers / polyps
- Evaluation of upper abdominal discomfort and pain
- Anemia or gastrointestinal bleeding
- Problems with swallowing
- Reflux and heartburn symptoms
How do I prepare for one?
You are required to fast at least 6 hours before the procedure to ensure that your stomach is completely emptied for the Gastroscopy.
An empty stomach allows good visualisation and reduces the risk of vomiting during the procedure. If there is any presence of food, the procedure will have to be postponed.
Most medications are safe to continue for the procedure. You should discuss this with your doctor prior to the examination, especially if you are taking any blood thinners, warfarin, aspirin or diabetes medication.
How is a Gastroscopy performed?
Local anaesthesia will be administered through a local anaesthetic spray to numb your throat. Subsequently, you may be given light sedation to help you relax.
The doctor will slowly advance a gastroscope though your mouth and down into your stomach. The examination takes about 10 minutes to complete.
You may experience mild bloating or belching as air is inflated to distend the stomach. The procedure is well-tolerated, pain-free and does not affect your breathing.
What happens after a Gastroscopy?
You will be observed until the sedation has worn off, and will be discharged subsequently. Do not drive or operate any machinery till the next day, as the sedatives used will impair your reflexes.
You may experience mild bloating from the air introduced into the stomach. This will improve when you pass the gas. Sometimes, a mild sore throat is experienced but it will resolve in a few days. You will be able to eat normally within the same day and resume your normal activities the next day.
What are the risks?
Gastroscopy is a very safe procedure. Complications are rare, but can occur. These include bleeding from a biopsy site, perforation or aspiration of stomach contents. Aspiration risk is minimised by fasting. Some patients might have reactions to the sedation.
It is important to contact your doctor if you experience symptoms of severe chest/abdominal pain, fever or bleeding.