The purpose of gastroscopy is usually to determine the causes of discomfort or pain within the stomach area and mucous membranes of the adjacent esophagus and duodenum. It is done with a special endoscope, which is inserted through the mouth or optionally the nose of the patient.
Previously, the doctor looked directly through the tube of the endoscope into the stomach of the patient, today, the image taken by the endoscope is usually displayed on a monitor.
If the causes of the stomach ailments are clarified, an intervention can be carried out directly by means of the gastroscopy technique. These may be, for example, ulcers, mucosal complaints, bleeding or narrowing in the esophagus. The endoscope can then be used to remove or remove foreign bodies and tissue.
Because gastroscopy is both time-consuming and uncomfortable for the patient, it should not be considered for any type of abdominal pain or nausea. However, it can be used for permanent or recurrent pains in the upper abdomen, for heartburn or diarrhea with no visible background and suspected stomach ulcers.
Dysphagia, persistent loss of appetite, vomiting of blood and unwanted weight loss are also included. Depending on what medical diagnosis follows, it may be necessary to have regular check-ups. It can be life-saving, the gastroscopy, if sudden bleeding from the front digestive tract or the esophagus occur - for example, by varicose veins in the esophagus - and the reflection causes. For complaints in the lower abdomen and the intestine, however, a colonoscopy must be made.
Patients who undergo gastroscopy should not eat more than six hours before the start of the procedure, as it is largely impossible to detect disease symptoms due to the food in the stomach. Most patients are previously given medication - especially tranquilizers, since the insertion of the tube through the mouth into the stomach is perceived as very unpleasant - and are briefly anesthetized. In addition, there are usually still numbness in the mouth and throat to reduce the gag reflex.
The gastroscopy is considered largely harmless and major complications are exceptional cases. However, patients with a weaker circulation and blood pressure can respond to the drugs with circulatory problems. In theory, respiratory arrest can occur, which can be counteracted by the addition of oxygen or respiration. However, accurate and diligent monitoring can more or less completely prevent the occurrence of such respiratory arrest.
In addition, patients who take food or drink before they lose their anesthetic may inhale it into the lungs and cause pneumonia. It can also happen that during the treatment with the endoscope to so-called perforations, so small punctures in cavities such as the stomach or the lungs, can come. A stomach tear of this kind can cause dangerous inflammations of the abdominal cavity.
Nevertheless, the risk is extremely low and should not be a reason to not perform a necessary gastroscopy. Long-term symptoms after a gastroscopy usually do not occur even if it does not come to one of the above cases.