Why is gastroscopy performed?

This test is performed to investigate some symptoms, such as pain, nausea, heartburn, difficulty swallowing.

During the procedure it is possible to perform biopsies which consist in the collection of tissue samples and are performed for the search for infections, the verification of the good functioning of the intestine and the diagnosis of abnormal-looking tissues, which can reveal pathologies such as celiac disease and pre-tumor or tumor lesions.

Treatment procedures such as distention of an area with a narrowing, removal of polyps (generally benign findings), or treatment of digestive bleeding may also be performed during gastroscopy.

What happens during the procedure?

Your doctor might start by squirting a local anesthetic spray down your throat.

Most patients are sedated, although endoscopy can also be done without any sedation if preferred.

During the procedure, the patient remains lying on his left side.

The endoscope is introduced into the digestive tract and does not interfere with breathing.

The exam lasts 5-10 minutes.

What happens after the procedure?

The patient is monitored until the effects of the sedative disappear.

Eventually it will be possible to eat something, unless your doctor gives you different instructions.

The patient should be accompanied home and not have to drive or make important decisions until the next day, as judgment and reflexes may be slowed due to the sedative drug administered.

What are the possible complications of gastroscopy?

Although complications are possible for this test, they are rare (less than 0.05%).

Perforation occurs with a maximum frequency of 0.03% and is generally linked to the presence of particular anatomical conditions (esophageal strictures, Zenker’s diverticulum, neoplasms).

In the case of operative gastroscopy (dilatation of strictures, polypectomies, haemostasis of bleeding lesions, ligation of oesophageal and/or gastric varices, positioning of prostheses or nutritional tubes) there is a higher risk of complications (0.5 – 5%).

Bleeding may occur at the site of the biopsy or removal of a polyp, but it is often a non-significant phenomenon, generally controllable endoscopically, which only in very rare cases may require surgery or a blood transfusion.

Some patients may have cardiorespiratory complications related to the use of sedatives, or complications due to heart or lung disease.

Death is an extremely rare event in endoscopic procedures.

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