How To Prepare continued...
Do not eat or drink anything for 6 to 8 hours before the test. An empty stomach helps your doctor see your stomach clearly during the test. It also reduces your chances of vomiting. If you vomit, there is a small risk that the vomit could enter your lungs. (This is called aspiration.) If the test is done in an emergency, a tube may be inserted through your nose or mouth to empty your stomach.
You may be asked to sign a consent form that says you understand the risks of the test and agree to have it done.
Talk to your doctor about any concerns you have about the need for the test, its risks, how it will be done, or what the results will mean. To help you understand the importance of this test, fill out the medical test information form(What is a PDF document?).
You may be asked to stop taking aspirin products, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), and iron supplements 7 to 14 days before the test. If you take blood-thinning medicines regularly, talk with your doctor about how to manage your medicine.
Do not take sucralfate (Carafate) or antacids on the day of the test. These medicines can make it hard for your doctor to see your upper GI tract.
Before the test, you will put on a hospital gown. If you are wearing dentures, jewelry, contact lenses, or glasses, remove them. For your own comfort, empty your bladder before the test.
Arrange to have someone take you home after the test. You will be given a sedative before the test and will need a ride home.
How It Is Done
A gastrointestinal endoscopy may be done in a doctor's office, a clinic, or a hospital. An overnight stay in the hospital usually isn't needed. The test is most often done by a doctor who specializes in problems of the digestive system (gastroenterologist). The doctor may also have an assistant. Some family medicine doctors, internists, and surgeons are also trained to do this test.
Before the procedure, blood tests may be done to check for a low blood count or clotting problems. Your throat may be numbed with an anesthetic spray, gargle, or lozenge. This is to relax your gag reflex and make it easier to insert the endoscope into your throat.