What is a gastroscopy?

It is an examination of the inside of your oesophagus (gullet), the stomach and the duodenum (the first bend of the small intestine). See the diagram. A thin, flexible tube approximately the size of a little finger (a gastroscope) is passed through the mouth into the stomach. The tip of the endoscope contains a light and a tiny video camera so that the endoscopist can see inside your gut, allowing the endoscopist to see what might be causing the symptoms that you are experiencing. (This procedure is sometimes called an endoscopy).

Preparation for the test

  • For this examination to be successful and allow a clear view of the stomach and colon, they must be as empty.
  • It is important to have nothing to eat or drink for 6 hours before your test.
  • If you have diabetes or haemophilia, please phone the Ward for specific advice.
  • If you are taking warfarin, clopidogrel, or other blood thinning medications, please inform us at least one week before the test.
  • If you have a pacemaker or ICD, please inform us at least one week before the test.

The test may be affected if you are taking certain medications for the stomach. Stop taking the following drugs one week before the test if you have not been diagnosed with an ulcer or Barrett’s Oesophagus:

  • Cimetidine (Tagamet)
  • Ranitidine (Zantac)
  • Nizatidine (Axid)
  • Lansoprazole (Zoton)
  • Omeprazole (Losec)
  • Pantoprazole (Protium)
  • Rabeprazole (Pariet)
  • Esomeprazole (Nexium)
  • Fanotidine (Pepcid).

Continue to take your other medications with a sip of water.

  • Please bring a list of any medications you are currently taking.
  • If you have any queries about your medication, please ring the ward.
  • It is especially important to remember to bring any asthma inhalers or angina sprays with you.
  • Do not bring any valuables to the ward.

Click the link for a check list for your gastroscopy


This test is very safe, but there are some risks associated with this procedure.

These include:

  • Damage to crowned teeth or dental bridgework.
  • A reaction to the sedative. The sedative can affect your breathing making it slow and shallow.
  • Fever (raised temperature).
  • There is a slightly increased risk of developing a chest infection after this procedure.
  • A feeling of bloating due to the air we need to insert so we can clearly see where we are.
  • A small amount of bleeding may occur following a biopsy.
  • Perforation, which is a little tear in the wall of the gullet, stomach or colon, this is also rare. (Risk approximately one for every 1000 examinations). This would require a short stay in hospital and treatment with antibiotics, or very occasionally may require surgical repair;
  • Please talk to your endoscopist before your examination if you have any worries about the risks

Yes, there is a Barium Swallow and CT Scan. They are both very good at looking at the upper digestive tract but are unable to look closely at the lining or take biopsies. This means that you would probably require a gastroscopy anyway.

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