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A gastroscopy is a procedure where the upper digestive tract – the esophagus (the tube leading from the mouth), the stomach and the first part of the small intestine (the duodenum) can be examined using a long thin flexible tube with a tiny video camera at the tip. During the procedure, small pieces of the lining (biopsies) can be taken for study under a microscope and if necessary, for culture or infections. Some polyps can also be removed during the procedure. 


Gastroscopy is the most effective way to diagnose and manage diseases of the esophagus and stomach. You will be sedated for this procedure. The procedure lasts about 10 to 15 minutes. You will spend another 30 minutes to an hour recovering from the sedation given for the test. The preparation for a gastroscopy is a lot simpler than a colonoscopy and can be viewed below. 


Please note that if you are scheduled for both a colonoscopy and a gastroscopy you are to follow the preparation instructions for a colonoscopy.  


Before the Procedure 

  • Your temperature will be checked upon entering the clinic and a nurse will escort you to the intake area

  • You will be assigned a bed and asked to undress and put on a gown. 

  • The nurse will then take your blood pressure, pulse & oxygen levels and will ask you questions pertinent to your medical history and go through the procedure consent forms. 

  • The nurse or anesthesiologist will also start an intravenous (IV) site in your arm or hand if you are to receive sedation.


During the Procedure

  • You will be accompanied to the procedure room via stretcher, where the physician will speak to you about risks and benefits of the procedure and go through important information pertaining to your health. 

  • A nurse will be with you throughout the duration of your procedure.

  • You will be asked to lie on your left side on the stretcher.

  • You will receive sedation through the IV site to keep the procedure relaxing and pain free.

  • You will be given a bite block to keep your mouth open during the procedure. Your throat may be frozen with a spray anesthetic 

  • The physician will then insert the endoscope into your mouth. Keep in mind that the endoscope is smaller than most food you swallow and you will be sedated to maintain comfort throughout the procedure.

  • You will be able to breath normally while you are under sedation.

  • During the procedure the physician must put air into your stomach which may cause burping.


What Happens After the Procedure

  • You will return to the recovery area where the nurse and/or physician will monitor your vitals

  • The results of your gastroscopy will be written for you on a discharge sheet that you can take home to review. The endoscopist may discuss the results with you as well. 

  • If your throat was sprayed with anesthetic, you will be advised to fast for 1 hour after the gastroscopy.

  • Any pathology specimen retrieved will be sent to the laboratory for assessment and testing. Lab results are subject to the laboratory processing time, which currently is around 3 weeks. Your referring physician will be copied on the lab results and will receive them at the same time that we do.  

On Leaving the Clinic
  • Since this procedure is usually done with sedation, you will remain in the recovery room until the nurse feels you are ready and fit to be discharged. This may be up to 30-40 minutes post-procedure.

  • You must not drive a motor vehicle, operate hazardous equipment, or make any legal decisions for 24 hours after your procedure time. It is against the law to drive a motorized vehicle under the influence of sedative drugs.

  • You are advised not to consume alcohol for 24 hours following your procedure time.

  • You must be accompanied by a responsible adult (over 18 years), even if you are travelling by taxi. It is unsafe for you to travel by bus.

  • Please follow the instructions given by your nurse and physician. 

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