• This is a procedure to examine the oesophagus, stomach and duodenum (marked in yellow on the diagram). The procedure involves passing a thin tube (gastroscope) through the mouth, into the oesophagus and then into the stomach. Because this can be uncomfortable, the procedure is usually done under sedation.

Before the procedure

The stomach needs to be empty for the procedure.
No food or drink, including water, should be taken for 6 hours before the procedure. Important tablets and medicines can be taken with a sip of water. Diabetics may have to vary or withhold their diabetic medications on the morning of the procedure but this should to be discussed with your doctor beforehand.

During the procedure

Most patients receive some intravenous sedation during the procedure. You will recover very quickly from the effects of the sedation, however some medication may remain in the system for 24 hours. You must not drive a car or operate dangerous machinery for the next 24 hours.

After the procedure

The results of the gastroscopy will be discussed with you after the procedure and a letter will be sent to your local doctor. Usually biopsy results are available after 3-5 days.

Possible complications

Although complications can occur, they are rare. Bleeding can occur at a biopsy site or where a polyp was removed, but it’s usually minimal and rarely requires follow-up. Other potential risks include a reaction to the sedative used, aspiration where secretions are inhaled into the lungs or complications from underlying diseases of the heart and lung. The risk of perforation (a tear in the gastrointestinal tract lining) is extremely low but rises in particular instances, such as if an oesophageal dilatation is done, if polyps are removed or if therapy to treat bleeding is done.