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Understanding Your Endoscopy

What is an upper endoscopy?
An upper endoscopy is a procedure that allows your doctor to see inside your esophagus (food tube), stomach, and duodenum (first part of your small intestine).
Why do I need an endoscopy?

Digestive disorders are very common, especially in women. An upper endoscopy can be a useful tool in diagnosing and treating these problems. The examination may be used to investigate symptoms such as:

  • Recurring indigestion
  • Heartburn
  • Abdominal pain
  • Unexplained chest pain
  • Repeated vomiting
  • Difficulty swallowing, and hoarseness
What preparation is required?
An empty stomach allows for the best and safest examination. Please do not eat or drink, including water, after 12 midnight the night before the procedure if you are scheduled for a morning appointment. If you have an afternoon appointment, you may have liquids only for up to four hours before your scheduled procedure time.
How is the upper endoscopy performed?
The doctor will insert an endoscope (a thin, flexible, lighted tube) over the tongue, down through the esophagus and into the stomach. The endoscope is the thickness of your little finger. You will be given moderate sedation through an intravenous line to make you relaxed, drowsy and comfortable during the procedure. It won’t put you to sleep. During the test, air is passed through the endoscope and into the stomach. This is to make the stomach bigger and to give the doctor a clearer view. It does not hurt, but it may be a bit uncomfortable. If the doctor needs to take some tissue samples (biopsies), this can be done painlessly through the endoscope. The procedure itself takes 15 to 30 minutes, although you should plan on two to three hours for waiting, preparation and recovery. It is important that you have a responsible adult with you to drive you home.
What happens during the endoscopy?
In the procedure room, you will be asked to lie on your left side with your knees slightly bent. A nurse will be with you throughout the entire procedure. The physician will give you the medication through the intravenous line. You will be given oxygen through a nasal cannula, and a device will be placed on your finger to monitor your oxygen levels. Electrodes will be placed on your chest to monitor your heart. A plastic guard is placed in your mouth to protect your teeth and the endoscope. If you are finding the procedure more uncomfortable than you would like, please let the nurse know, and you will be given additional sedative or analgesia. When the procedure is finished, the scope is removed quickly and easily.
What happens after an endoscopy?
After the endoscopy is completed, you will be monitored in the recovery room. When you are alert and awake, you will be given a drink before getting dressed. You can then go home. This may be up to an hour following the procedure, you may have some feelings of bloating or fullness after your endoscopy. This is because of the air put into your belly during the procedure. This should disappear quickly when you pass gas or burp.
Getting ready for the procedure
  • Please be sure that you have planned for a responsible adult to accompany you. They must be available to come into the endoscopy suite to sign you out of the unit following your procedure. You must have someone drive you or be available to drive you home the day of the procedure. You may take a taxi or bus, if you are accompanied by a responsible adult. You will not be able to drive the day of your procedure.
  • Please check with your insurance company before the procedure is done to confirm your coverage.
  • Bring a detailed list of your medications including over the counter medications and supplements. List the dose (ex: 10 mgs) and when you take it (ex: once a day at bedtime).
  • Patients having procedures at 100 Dudley Street, Providence, can park in the lot located behind the building, parking is free.

Endoscopy Patient Information

When to Arrive

Please plan to arrive at the hospital one hour before your scheduled appointment. Although you will probably not be called until the time of your scheduled appointment, we ask your cooperation with this policy. We realize this may not be convenient, but the time may be needed for two reasons:

  • First, this will give you plenty of time to fill out the necessary paperwork. If you need help with any of the forms, please ask the nurse.
  • Second, in case there is a cancellation, you will be here and ready to be taken early.
Before Your Endoscopy

Once you are brought into the Ambulatory Surgery Unit, the following will happen:

  • The nurse will start an IV (intravenous line) to give you fluids and medicine. You will not be able to eat or drink anything until after your procedure. The IV will give you the fluids that you need.
  • Your belongings will be stored in a plastic bag with your name written on a tag. Please do not bring any valuables to the hospital, including jewelry.
  • You may bring someone to sit with you before you are brought into the procedure room – the nurse will call for that person after she gets you ready. He/she will be asked to leave for the waiting area once you are ready to be taken.

Your guest may wait in the Main Lobby on the first floor of the hospital, or he/she may leave a contact number with the nurse to call when you are ready to go home. Please fill out a “Speak With” form if you would like your doctor to speak with someone after your procedure.

After Your Endoscopy

Once your procedure is complete, your guest may sit with you before you go home. Before you are discharged, you will need to:

  • Try to drink some juice and eat a cracker – please let your nurse know if you are feeling nauseous
  • Walk to the bathroom
  • Walk to your car, with an escort
Going Home

Please ask your ride to park in the front circle of the Main Entrance when coming to pick you up.

When you leave, you will be given instructions from your doctor – please call our office at (401) 453-7953 if you have any questions or concerns once you are home.