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A gastroscopy is a technique where an endoscope (thin, flexible tube) is used to see inside the oesophagus, stomach and duodenum, the first part of the small intestine. The endoscopy procedure involves an endoscope with a light and a camera at one end. The images sent by the camera are observed on the monitor. The gastroscopy is used to investigate dysphagia or persistent abdominal pain, to diagnose stomach ulcers or gastro-oesophageal reflux diseases (GORD) and also to treat bleeding ulcers, a blockage in the oesophagus, small cancerous tumors. The gastroscopist generally takes less than 15 minutes or sometimes longer to treat a condition. This is an outpatient procedure. Instructions before undergoing gastroscopy include avoiding to eat for 4-6 hours before the test as the stomach needs to be empty. Sometimes few sips of water are allowed up to two hours before the test. In this gastroscopy treatment, the endoscopes have side channel for the passage of various surgical instruments. These are manipulated by the surgeon. As per gastroenterology, gastroscopy is a safe procedure, with few complications. The concerns include reaction to the sedative, like abnormal breathing, heart rate and blood pressure, and internal bleeding due to tearing of the lining of GIT track. Few people have a heart attack or stroke during, after gastroscopy. These patients are older people who are already in poor health. These serious complications are very rare, who are otherwise reasonably healthy. Barium swallow and meal is an alternative to gastroscopy. It provides similar information to gastroscopy in an x-ray examination. However, there are some disadvantages such as the direct view of the lining of the digestive tract is not seen, biopsy samples cannot be taken and this process involves x-ray radiation, unlike gastroscopy.
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