Tuesday, June 1, 2010


Gastroscopy (also known as an upper GI endoscopy) is a procedure that enables the examination of the upper part of the gastrointestinal tract, ie. The oesophagus, stomach and duodenum, using a thin flexible tube with its own inbuilt video camera, lens and light source (gastroscope).

Gastroscopy is usually performed to evaluate symptoms of persistent upper abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting or difficulty swallowing. It is also the best test for finding the cause of bleeding from the upper gastrointestinal tract. Gastroscopy is the most accurate means of detecting inflammation and ulcers of the oesophagus, stomach and duodenum. Gastroscopy can detect early cancer by performing biopsies (taking small tissue samples) and can distinguish between benign and malignant (cancer) conditions. Biopsies are taken for many reasons, and do not necessarily mean that cancer is suspected. Gastroscopy may be used to treat conditions present in the upper gastrointestinal tract. A variety of instruments can be passed through the endoscope, which allow many abnormalities to be treated directly, with little or no discomfort, for example, stretching narrowed areas, removing polyps or treating upper gastrointestinal bleeding.

For the best (and safest) examination, the stomach must be completely empty. You should have nothing to eat or drink, including water, for five (5) hours before the examination. Your doctor will be more specific about the time to begin fasting, depending on the time of day that your test is scheduled.

Possible medication adjustments: Before the test, be sure to discuss with the doctor whether you should adjust any of your usual medications before the procedure, any drug allergies you may have, and whether you have any major conditions such as a heart or lung condition, that might require special attention during the procedure.

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