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Gastroscopy is an examination of the upper digestive tract (the oesophagus, stomach and duodenum) using an endoscope — a long, thin, flexible tube containing a camera and a light — to view the lining of these organs. It is usually done to investigate the cause of symptoms such as heartburn, abdominal pain, difficulty swallowing, vomiting or bleeding from the digestive tract, and to make or confirm a diagnosis.

You will be asked not to eat or drink anything for at least 6 hours before a gastroscopy. If you are taking any medicines, check with your doctor if it is all right to continue taking them. You may be asked to stop taking medicines that can increase the risk of bleeding for a few days before the test; these include warfarin, aspirin and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAID) medicines. However, this depends on your individual circumstances, so you should check.

You will be asked to lie flat, usually on your left side. You are usually given a sedative and sometimes a pain-reliever medicine by injection into a vein. The sedative will help you to relax, and may put you to sleep. Generally, you will have little recollection of the procedure. In some cases, the procedure can be done without the sedative - you need to discuss this with the doctor before you sign the consent form.

  • You may have a slightly sore throat after the procedure. Air may also be trapped in your stomach causing you to feel bloated.
  • There is a small chance of bleeding after the procedure, especially If a biopsy has been taken or treatment performed. Any bleeding is usually minor.
  • Complications resulting from being sedated are also possible, but again rare.