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A Gastroscopy is a procedure that allows the Consultant to look at the lining of the oesophagus, stomach and first part of the small bowel (duodenum). A long flexible tube/scope (thinner than your finger) with a light and a camera inside is passed through your mouth into the oesophagus, stomach and duodenum. The procedure can take between 5-15 minutes. A biopsy may be taken if indicated. This will cause you no pain.

Gastroscopy is a safe test but there are some risks. Complications include, but are not limited to, perforation (tear) in approximately 1:2000 cases. Haemorrhage (bleeding) may occur at the site of the biopsy and nearly always stops on its own. These complications may require urgent medical treatment or surgical intervention (operation) which can carry risk to life and health.

You may continue to take essential medication. If you are taking anticoagulants (blood thinners) such as warfarin or plavix you should seek/receive specific advice from your doctor when the test is being organised. If you have any concerns about your diabetes you should contact the Unit for advice before you attend for your test.

  • The scheduling of your test is an approximate estimate only and unfortunately there can be unforeseen delays
  • Food may be taken up to six hours prior to admission
  • Water can be taken up to two hours prior to admission.
  • Bring with you details of private medical insurance and check with your insurance company before your admission to confirm your level of cover.
  • If you have a referral from your doctor, present this to the secretary on arrival.
  • Bring a list of current medication.
  • Do not bring jewellery or large sums of money.
  • If you are under 16 you must be accompanied by your parent or guardian who is required to give written consent.
  • If you choose to have sedation for this procedure you must be accompanied home.
  • You will not be allowed to take a taxi home alone.

The options below will be discussed with you:

Option 1: No Sedation

You will be given a local anaesthetic spray to numb the back of your throat to ease the passage of the scope.

Option 2: Sedation

You will be given an intravenous injection into a vein to make you feel relaxed and sleepy, but not unconscious. This is not a general anaesthetic.

  • A nurse will be with you at all times.
  • You will be asked to lie on your left side.
  • A nurse will place a plastic mouth piece between your teeth to protect then and to prevent you from biting the scope.
  • The doctor will administer throat spray and / or sedation.
  • The gastroscope is passed through your mouth.
  • You may breath normally throughout the procedure.
  • Air is passed into your stomach which may make you belch a little When the procedure is finished the gastroscope is removed.

If you use a wheelchair or have a physical or any other disability please contact us to let us know in advance so that we can ensure you receive the appropriate supports.

  • Further tests may be requested by the consultant. These tests may be completed on the same day of your examination or a future date will be given.
  • If you have not received sedation you will be given a light snack one hour post procedure, and may go home as soon as follow up instructions have been discussed with you. You may resume all normal activities immediately.
  • If you have received sedation you will be observed in the day ward until the effects of the sedation have worn off. The intravenous cannula will be removed from your arm before you go home. When you have sufficiently recovered you will receive a light snack.

You may experience minor discomfort such as sore throat or bloating post- procedure. These usually settle within 24 hours. Your nurse will advise you of further instructions or follow up pre-discharge.

If you have had sedation, you must not drink alcohol or drive until the following day, and you must be accompanied home.


Seek medical attention immediately if:

  • You begin to vomit or have black bowel motions
  • You develop severe nausea, vomiting or abdominal pain.

Endoscopy Unit

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