A gastroscopy (oesophagogastroduodenoscopy) is a painless examination, which only takes a few minutes.
With the help of this exam, it is not only possible to see the inside of the stomach but also to evaluate the throat, the oesophagus and the first part of the small intestine, the duodenum. A special hose-like endoscope is used for this examination, the so-called gastroscope. Modern endoscopes only have a diameter of less than one centimetre. They can be easily controlled from outside and are easy to pass through the oesophagus, stomach and the duodenum. Small biopsies can be taken painlessly with the instruments and therapeutic measures can be implemented. For instance, life-threatening bleeding from stomach ulcers can be stilled during the examination. The taking of biopsies is – like the entire examination - painless.
A gastroscopy is recommended in the case of persistent pain in the upper abdomen, continuing heartburn, difficulties swallowing, indistinctive diarrhoea and in the case of a possible stomach ulcer or a malignant alteration of the stomach. The patient to be examined may not eat anything approximately 6 hours before the examination. In preparation, a defoaming agent must be drunk. The throat is subsequently numbed with a spray, to make swallowing the instrument easier. The endoscope is inserted while the patient is lying on his/her left side. Active swallowing is not necessarily a must. To protect the endoscope, a hollow mouth piece is used, which can be held loosely between the teeth. Heartbeat and breathing are electronically monitored during the examination. The entire examination is documented on video. Because of the pharyngeal anaesthesia no food or beverage may be ingested for half an hour after the examination (danger of choking). After that, no special diet is required. Upon request, the examination can be conducted under a so-called sedoanalgesia. However, the patient is then no longer able to work on this day and is not permitted to drive a motor vehicle for 24 hours. For safety reasons, the sedoanalgesia can only be administered if the patient is in the company of another person, who can take him/her home after the examination.