What is an Upper Endoscopy
Upper endoscopy is a view of the upper part of the gastrointestinal tract. This includes the oesophagus, stomach and duodenum (the first part of the small bowel). An endoscopy is performed using an endoscope, a thin flexible tube which carries the equivalent of a video camera at the tip.
Why is an endoscopy performed.
Endoscopy helps in evaluating symptoms such as abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, bloating, diarrhea, reflux, heartburn, bleeding and swallowing difficulty. It is more accurate than Xrays in detecting inflammation, ulcers, and tumours of the stomach, oesophagus and duodenum.
Endoscopy also allows the taking of biopsies (small tissue samples) which help in determining a diagnosis. Biopsies can help in detecting infections such as Helicobacter and Giardia. Biopsies are also used in detecting Coeliac disease and Lactase deficiency. They also help in distinguishing benign from malignant tumours.
Endoscopy can also be used to treat conditions. It can be used to stop bleeding, to remove polyps and to stretch narrowed areas. Endoscopy is essentially a painless procedure.
How do you prepare for endoscopy
The stomach must be empty to allow for a good and safe view of the stomach. You should have nothing to eat or drink for 6 hours before the test. The clinic will advise you when to stop eating when you book you appointment for the procedure.
What happens during the test.
Prior to the test you will see your specialist who will determine the reason for the test and what he may expect to find. As well your specialist will determine what biopsies may be required. Following this you will see you sedationist who will check your fitness for a sedation. Following this you will be give a sedative following which the endoscope is passed down through your mouth into the stomach and as far down as the duodenum. A good view will be obtained of the oesophagus, stomach and duodenum. Photos and biopsies are usually taken....
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