Upper Gastrointestinal Endoscopy involves the use of a flexible tube to examine the upper gastrointestinal tract including the oesophagus, stomach and duodenum. The procedure is commonly undertaken if your doctor suspects that you have inflammation of the oesophagus (or gullett – the pipe which connects the throat to the stomach), a peptic ulcer, or other significant pathology in the upper gastrointestinal tract.
About the Procedure
An endoscope is a flexible tube about 9mm in diameter. It allows full colour inspection of the oesophagus, stomach and duodenum. It also allows biopsies to be taken from the small bowel and other areas.
Safety and Risks
Gastrointestinal endoscopy is usually simple and safe. It is unlikely to cause problems for patients unless they have serious chest or heart problems. Extremely rarely, individual patients may have a reaction to the sedation or damage to the oesophagus at the time of examination. Such complications are extremely rare, however, if you wish to have full details of all possible rare complications discussed before the procedure, you should inform your doctor.
If you have serious heart or chest problems, special precautions need to be taken to reduce any possible risk. You should therefore inform your doctor of any serious illness of this nature. All patients have oxygen to breathe during the procedure and the heart rate and body oxygen levels continuously monitored. At the beginning of the procedure you will be given a sedative by injection into a vein to make you more comfortable and this may cause you not to recall the proceedure. The procedure will take between 5 and 45 minutes and you will be sleepy for about half an hour afterwards.