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Upper Gastrointestinal Endoscopy

How To Prepare continued...

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 regarding 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 or iron supplements 7 to 14 days before the test. If you take blood-thinning medicines regularly, discuss with your doctor how to manage your medicine.

Do not take sucralfate (Carafate) or antacids on the day of the test. These medicines can interfere with your doctor's ability to view the gastrointestinal tract.

If biopsy samples are taken or polyps are removed during the test, bleeding may also occur. This bleeding usually stops on its own without treatment. To reduce this risk, avoid aspirin and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) for several days before the endoscopy. If you take blood-thinning medicine, you may be instructed to stop the medicine temporarily before the test.

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 begins.

Arrange to have someone take you home after the test because you will be given a sedative before the test.

How It Is Done

A gastrointestinal endoscopy camera.gif may be done in a doctor's office, a clinic, or a hospital. An overnight stay in the hospital usually is not needed. The test is most often performed 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 endoscopy.

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 to relax your gag reflex and make it easier to insert the endoscope into your throat.

During the test, you may receive a pain medicine and a sedative through an intravenous (IV) line in your arm or hand. These medicines reduce pain and will make you feel relaxed and drowsy during the test. You may not remember much about the actual test.

You will be asked to lie on your left side with your head bent slightly forward. A mouth guard may be placed in your mouth to protect your teeth from the endoscope. Then the lubricated tip of the endoscope will be guided into your mouth, and your doctor may gently press your tongue out of the way. You may be asked to swallow to help move the tube along. It is helpful to remember that the instrument is no thicker than many foods you swallow and will not cause problems with breathing.

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: October 30, 2013
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

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