What is it?

A gastroscopy is the most accurate and sophisticated examination available for the oesophagus, stomach and duodenum. During the examination, a flexible tube fitted with a video camera is inserted through the mouth. Th examination can detect inflammation, ulcers, polyps and many other conditions at an early stage.

Radiology examination (imaging) of the stomach or the oesophagus and scans (CT or MR) are also used to examine stomach and oesophagus complaints, but do not provide the same precise information. If your physician recommends a gastroscopy and you decline, this may result in a delayed or mistaken diagnosis, with possible unpleasant consequences and therapy options that are not optimal.

Things to think about

Make sure to let us know about:

  • pregnancy
  • allergy, sensitivity or intolerance (e.g. latex, Lidocaine)
  • clotting problems or use of blood thinners (e.g. Marevan, Sintrom, Marcoumar, Ticlid, Plavix, Pradaxa, Xarelto, Aspirin)
  • artificial valve or prosthetic: some patients require antibiotics before and after the procedure;
  • epilepsy, diabetes, chronic heart, lung and kidney disorders: special attention to medication required.

Do not hesitate to ask for further explanation should you have any doubts or queries.

Course of the procedure

Preparation

  • You must fast for at least six hours before the examination. If the examination is performed in the afternoon, you may take a light breakfast (sandwich with jam or cheese spread).
  • Do not smoke on the day of the procedure, and smoke as little as possible in the preceding days.
  • Do not take any antacids such as Maalox and Gaviscon on the day before the examination.
  • Ask for specific guidelines if you have diabetes, epilepsy, chronic heart, lung or kidney disorders or if you take blood thinners.
  • Leave removable dental prostheses in your room. Damage to teeth (higher risk if teeth are in poor condition) cannot be ruled out during an endoscopy or anaesthesia.

Anaesthesia

Anxious patients or patients who must undergo the examination repeatedly (e.g. to treat oesophageal varices or for stretching of a narrowed oesophagus) may opt to have the examination done under anaesthesia, performed by an anaesthetist. This requires an appointment through the secretariat.

Patients usually opt for local anaesthesia using a Lidocaine throat spray.

Location

If you do not desire anaesthesia, please check in as follows:

  • Maria Middelares General Hospital: using your identity card at the e-kiosk
  • MCMM Ghent-Bruges: first floor, waiting room 36.

If you want to undergo the examination under anaesthesia, you have tocheck in at the reception desk of the Maria Middelares Day Hospital, after having checked in at one of our e-kiosks using your identity card.

Safety and hygiene

We are an experienced and well-trained team, equipped with a modern infrastructure.

If you have opted for anaesthesia, this will be performed by an anaesthetist. The procedure is performed in an endoscopy room that is fitted with all the necessary anaesthesia equipment and endoscopy instruments.

Before and after every examination, each endoscope is thoroughly cleaned and disinfected in an automatic cleaning and disinfection machine in a controlled procedure. Our disinfection protocols meet European standards.

We use disposable materials for taking tissue samples (biopsy), injecting medication and removing polyps.

Examination

If you choose a local numbing throat spray, you undergo the examination in a conscious state.

If you opt for a general anaesthetic, an intravenous drip will be placed in a vein of your arm to deliver the medication.

The examination is very safe and is usually well tolerated.

After the examination

If you choose anaesthesia, you are not allowed to drive home on your own and you will need to take a day off work.

Do not plan any important activities after the procedure. Your concentration and judgement may be diminished.

After a general anaesthetic, you will wake up in the recovery room. You will then be transferred to the day hospital.

After a local or general anaesthetic, you may experience throat irritation, drowsiness or dizziness (due to the anaesthesia).

Possible risks

In principle, complications hardly ever occur. A very rare complication is perforation (i.e. tear) of the stomach or oesophagus. In that case, you will need urgent surgery. Stretching of narrowed parts (balloon dilation of stenosis), the treatment of varicose veins (i.e. varices) and the stemming bleeds rarely result in perforation complications.

Bleeding as a result of gastroscopy is rare and can usually be treated without the need for surgery.

In rare cases, phlebitis can develop at the IV insertion site.

Contact us if you have the following symptoms after the procedure:

  • persistent severe pain
  • fever
  • blood loss (red or black stools)
  • any concerning symptom

Centres and specialist areas

Obesity Centre
Digestive Centre

Latest publication date: 05/02/2021
Supervising author: Dr Vanderstraeten Erik