Having a colonoscopy

Patient’s name: ……………………………………………………………………………………………. Your appointment is at Royal Preston Hospital (01772 522032)/Chorley Hospital (01257) 245656 Endoscopy Unit on ……………………………………. at ……………………………………………….
This leaflet has been produced to answer questions you may have about the Gastroscopy test
and what to expect during your visit. If you have any other questions, please ask a member of
the nursing team.
What is a Gastroscopy?
A gastroscopy is a test that allows a doctor to look at the oesophagus (gullet), stomach and
duodenum (the start of the small intestine) through a long flexible tube with a light at the end.
You may have a local anaesthetic spray to numb your throat or have sedation.
During the procedure small samples (biopsies) of tissue may be taken. Tiny forceps are passed
through the scope and the biopsies are removed painlessly through the scope. If polyps are
found, these are usually removed. So that we have a clear view it is important that the stomach
is empty.
Why do I need a Gastroscopy?
The examination allows us to look directly at the oesophagus, stomach and duodenum to check
whether any disease is present and helps us to find the cause of your symptoms (for example;
heartburn, weight loss, nausea, anaemia, difficulty swallowing).
What are the risks of having a Gastroscopy?
The main risk of this procedure is making a small tear (perforation) to the lining of the
oesophagus, stomach or duodenum ((0.03%) 1 in every 30,000 procedures). An operation may
be required to repair the perforation.
Bleeding may occur at the biopsy or polyp site; this is usually minor and should stop quickly. If it
continues to bleed, treatment may be needed. This is done by cauterisation (using heat to seal
off the blood vessels) or by injection.
A nurse will monitor you at all times to ensure that any problems are quickly recognised and
What are the alternatives to having a Gastroscopy?
In some cases and depending on individual cases, alternatives to Gastroscopy may include:
These tests are not as accurate as a gastroscopy, and a gastroscopy may still be needed after the barium test has been done. What do I need to do before I have a Gastroscopy?
 To make sure that your stomach is empty it is important not to eat for 6 hours or drink for
 If you are diabetic please read the enclosed leaflet  If you are taking Warfarin or Clopidogrel and have queries about taking your medication please ring 01772 522036 or 01257 245649 for further information  If you are taking any of the following medications: Lansoprazole, Omeprazole,
Rabeprazole, Esomeprazole, Pantoprazole, Zantac, Tagamet, Ranitidine, Cimetidine
(or Losec, Zoton, Pariet, Nexium)
you should stop taking them 2 weeks before your
gastroscopy appointment date. For symptom relief you can continue to take Gaviscon up
until the day before your test
 If you are suffering from Barrett’s Oesophagus or have a gastric ulcer you must continue
taking your medication
 Bring an up to date list of medications and allergies  If you would like sedation you will need to arrange for someone to collect you from the Endoscopy department and stay with you for up to 24 hours  Bring your consent form (read it but do not sign it)  Do not bring valuables or jewellery into the department as we cannot be held responsible  If you need an interpreter (including sign language) on the day of the Gastroscopy please
What happens when I arrive on the unit?
 When you arrive, please book in at reception  A nurse will take you into a private room to explain the procedure to you, complete the paperwork and give you the opportunity to ask any questions  You will be asked to sign the consent form that shows that you understand the test and the  If you have asked for sedation, the nurse will insert a small cannula into a vein in your hand or arm. The sedation will be given through this when you are in the treatment room  You will wait in reception until the doctor is ready to carry out your procedure
Will I find the procedure uncomfortable?
You may find the procedure unpleasant, however a nurse will be talking to you throughout and
will reassure you and explain what is happening during each stage of the procedure.
What pain relief is available?

Sedation can be injected into your vein through a cannula. The sedation will make you
feel drowsy and relaxed, but will not make you unconscious. You will be in a state called ‘conscious sedation’ which means that you will still hear what is said to you and will be able to follow simple instructions during the procedure.
Sedation makes it unlikely that you will remember anything about the procedure. When the
procedure has ended, you will be taken to the recovery area for about one hour.
What happens during the procedure?
For your comfort and reassurance, a nurse will be with you throughout the procedure. If you
have requested sedation this will be given before the procedure starts.
When you enter the room the doctor will speak to you. Local anaesthetic will be sprayed onto the
back of your throat; this has a strong taste. You will then be asked to lie down on the couch on
your left side. A monitor will be placed on your finger to record your pulse and oxygen levels.
A mouth guard will be placed in between your teeth (if you wear dentures these will first need to
be removed). The scope will be passed over the back of your tongue; you will be asked to
swallow and the scope will pass down your throat. You will feel full in your stomach as air is put
in; when the procedure is over this air will be removed by the scope.

What happens after the procedure?
If you have not been given any sedation you will be able to walk to the reception area where you
will be given discharge information before leaving the Endoscopy unit.
If you have been given sedation you will be taken to the recovery area until the effects of the
sedation has diminished (about one hour). You should not eat or drink for about one hour after
the throat spray has been given.
Going home
Please remember that if you have had sedation it is important that someone comes to collect you
from the department and stays with you for the next 24 hours. If this is not possible, please
contact the reception staff before your appointment date and let us know.
When you arrive home it is advisable to recover quietly for the rest of the day. You will be able to
eat and drink normally, but you must not drive, drink alcohol, operate machinery or sign legal
documents for 24 hours.


How many people will be in the procedure room?
The endoscopist along with one or two nurses and a healthcare assistant will be in the room.
There may also be a student nurse if they are currently on placement in the Endoscopy Unit.
There may be a consultant supervising the Endoscopist.
How long will I be in the unit?
You can expect to be on the unit for 2 – 4 hours. The procedure can take from 5 - 15 minutes. If
you have sedation you will be in recovery for up to 60 minutes after the procedure.
What are biopsies?
When tissue samples are removed for examination these are called biopsies. Biopsies are sent
to the laboratory to identify the cells that are in the tissue sample. The results will be sent to your
consultant and they will be in contact with you to let you know the results. Results can take any
time from 1 week to 4 weeks.
What is a hiatus hernia?
A hiatus hernia occurs when part of your stomach pushes through a weakened opening in the
diaphragm up into your chest rather than sitting below the diaphragm in your abdomen. This can
cause acid reflux and/or heartburn or may not give any symptoms at all.
What is an ulcer and how is it treated?
Your stomach normally produces acid to help with the digestion of food and to kill bacteria. This
acid is corrosive so some cells on the inside lining of the stomach and duodenum produce a
natural mucus barrier which protects the lining of the stomach and duodenum. There is normally
a balance between the amount of acid that you make and the mucus defense barrier. An ulcer
may develop if there is an alteration in this balance allowing the acid to damage the lining of the
stomach or duodenum. A 4-8 week course of a drug that reduces the amount of acid that your
stomach makes is usually advised. The most commonly used drug is a proton pump inhibitor.
What is Helicobacter pylori?
Helicobacter pylori is a bacterium that lives in the stomach and duodenum. The stomach is
protected from its own gastric juice by a thick layer of mucus that covers the stomach lining.
Helicobacter pylori lives in this mucus lining and can cause damage to it. This damage is usually
treated with antibiotics and a proton pump inhibitor; this may or may not get rid of the infection
and you may or may not experience symptoms because of it.

 Confirm the appointment by telephoning 01772 522032 or 01257 245656  Stop drinking 2 hours before the test – only water on the day of the test  Arrange for someone to accompany you and stay with you for up to 24 hours if you want  Bring the consent form but do not sign it  Contact the Endoscopy Department if an interpreter (including sign language) is needed Sources of further information:


Lancashire Teaching Hospitals
NHS Foundation Trust is not
responsible for the content of
external internet sites.

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