What happens in a gastroscopy?

Gastroscopy may help to clarify the suspicion of diseases such as gastric mucosal inflammations and gastric or duodenal ulcers. Using a so-called gastroscope, the esophagus, stomach, and part of the duodenum can be examined.

A gastroscopy can be useful, for example.

  • persistent or recurrent heartburn, nausea or vomiting,
  • longer existing nausea,
  • Stomach pain,
  • Dysphagia,
  • black stool or blood in the seat,
  • unclear weight loss,
  • Suspected gastric or duodenal ulcer,
  • Suspected oesophageal or gastric cancer as well for control after gastric surgery.

A gastroscope is a flexible tube with a small cold light source and a camera at the end. The captured images are transferred as a video to a screen. Instruments such as small forceps can also be inserted through the tube to remove a tissue sample. The aspiration of air and liquids is possible with the gastroscope.

How to prepare for a gastroscopy?

Before a gastroscopy, the doctor clarifies the investigation and its risks. This includes information about medications that one can take to make the inquiry more enjoyable. Those who regularly take medication should first clarify whether and when they can be taken on the day of the examination. The use of some drugs, such as anticoagulants, may need to be interrupted a few days before the test. The doctor informs you how many hours before the gastroscopy you can not eat or drink anything. Before the test, you have to sign a declaration of consent.

Anyone who gets a sedative during gastroscopy is not allowed to drive for 12 to 24 hours and not operate machines. For how long depends precisely on the medication administered. The doctor will inform you. The best way to get picked up after the investigation of someone or ordered a taxi to get home safely.

How is the examination performed?

Shortly before the examination, the oropharynx is anesthetized with a spray. Removable dentures must be removed before the gastroscopy. If sedatives are used, these are usually the active ingredients propofol and midazolam. They are injected into a vein and cause you to sleep for a short time.

As a rule, gastroscopy takes about 5 to 10 minutes. Most of the time you are in a gastroscopy on the left side. A tube or guard ring is placed between the teeth to keep the mouth open and not to bite the gastroscope. First, you have to swallow so that the gastroscope can be inserted into the esophagus. Then it is slowly advanced into the stomach and to the beginning of the duodenum.

The camera transmission allows the doctor to examine the esophagus and mucosa of the stomach for redness or inflammation. Also bleeding, varicose veins, unnatural bottlenecks or gastric ulcers are visible on the screen. If necessary, a tissue sample is taken. This is not painful.

Bleeding, unnatural bottlenecks and certain diseases can be treated directly during the examination.

What are the risks or complications of having a gastroscopy?

Sometimes, after the examination, you are hoarse or have a numb feeling in the mouth due to the anesthetic spray. Since the doctor sometimes directs some air into the stomach to be able to recognize more in the pictures, a feeling of fullness can occur in the short term. Bleeding or injury to organs is infrequent. If the teeth are not tight, introducing the gastroscope may result in damage to the teeth. Very rarely, tranquilizers can lead to complications such as respiratory or cardiovascular disorders.

Even though the sedatives cause only a shortfall asleep, concentration difficulties and fatigue can last for a few hours.


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