You will be asked to arrive at the Endoscopy center 1 to 1.5 hours before your exam. This is to allow time to fill out paper work and prepare for the exam. You will be asked to change into a medical gown. An intravenous (IV) catheter will be started in your arm so that sedation can be administered. You will be connected to equipment that will allow the doctor and staff to monitor your heart rate, blood pressure, pulse, electrocardiogram, breathing, and oxygen level during and after the exam.
Once in the exam room, you will be asked to lie on your left side on the stretcher. The IV sedation will be started. Small amounts are given at a time to assure that you do not have any reactions to the medication and to provide only the amount that you need individually. Once an adequate level of sedation is achieved, the endoscope will be gently inserted into the mouth. The scope will be carefully advanced through the esophagus, stomach, and first portion of the small intestine or duodenum. A small amount of air is injected through the scope into the gastrointestinal (GI) tract to help the physician see. Any fluid remaining in the upper GI tract suctioned out through the scope. Depending on the findings of the exam, several things can be done at the time of the procedure including biopsies, removal of polyps, and control of bleeding. At the end of the procedure, as much of the air and remaining fluid as possible is suctioned out through the scope. Depending on the findings, the exam takes approximately 10-20 minutes.
After the exam is complete, the patient is taken to the recovery room to be monitored while the sedation starts to wear off. The amount of sedation used during the exam and the patient’s individual response to the medication will dictate how quickly the patient wakes up, though most patients are awake enough for discharge within 45-60 minutes. You will not be allowed to drive for the rest of the day; therefore, you will need to arrange for a ride home. You will also be instructed not to work, sign important papers, or perform strenuous activities for the rest of the day. Most patients are able to eat and drink normally after their discharge from the Endoscopy unit, however, specific instructions regarding activity, eating, and medications will be given to the patient prior to discharge.