Gastroscopy: Examining the Stomach

Gastroscopy or OGDS is a procedure to examine the gullet (oesophagus), stomach and upper part of the small bowel with a flexible scope.

You may need an OGDS if you have any of the following conditions:

  • upper abdominal pain or discomfort
  • unexplained vomiting
  • vomiting blood (this can sometimes look like coffee granules)
  • difficulty swallowing
  • unexplained loss of weight
  • unexplained anaemia (low blood count)
  • upper abdominal mass
  • passing black coloured stool
  • previous history of stomach ulcers or stomach cancer
  • strong family history of stomach cancer
  • raised blood tumour markers (CEA, CA19-9)


What Happens During A Gastroscopy Examination

  • Set aside a day in your schedule.
  • I do this procedure as a day case – you are admitted in the morning and discharged in the evening after the procedure.
  • Starting from 7 am in the morning on the day of your appointment do NOT take anything by mouth.
  • If you are on regular medication, skip all of them EXCEPT your blood pressure pills which you should take with a small amount of water.
  • If you have any questions whether you should take a particular medication or not, check with me first.
  • Come for admission at 9 am. You will be sent to the Day Care Unit.
  • You will later be transferred to the Endoscopy Unit where you will be given mild sedation. This is not an anaesthetic so you will be awake during the procedure though you may not remember all of it. A nurse will also spray local anaesthetic into the back of your throat.
  • I then begin the OGDS/gastroscopy examination. During the procedure, we will need you lie on your left side.
  • When the scope goes into the back of your throat, you will need to swallow so that the scope goes through. Once the scope passes through, you will no longer be able to speak but breathing should not be a problem.
  • Concentrate on taking slow, deep breaths in and out. The scope procedure should take 10-15 minutes.
  • If I find any abnormality I may take a tiny sample (biopsy) for testing. If I find a polyp I will usually try to remove it at the same time with a polyp snare.
  • I will also take some photographs and a video of the inside of the stomach.
  • On completion of the scope you will rest in the Endoscopy Unit for a while. You will then be transferred back to the Day Care Unit. I will discuss the findings of the scope examination with you and your accompanying family members and you will receive a folder with a written report, photos and a DVD. Keep that safely as we do not keep backup copies of your DVD in our records.
  • When you have fully recovered from the sedation, you will be able to return home. Do NOT drive, operate machinery or cross the road unaided for 24 hours!

Tips For Gastroscopy Patients

  • If you intend to claim from your insurance provider, we will need to get a guarantee letter from your insurance company before we start. This means filling out a form a day or two before. The insurance company will then fax notification of the guarantee letter to us.
  • If you are not claiming from your insurance, or your insurance has declined your application, you will need to prepare a deposit of RM1000. This covers the basic procedure – it does not cover the cost of medicines you may be given upon discharge or additional procedures like polypectomy.
  • Bring someone with you to hospital so you don’t have to drive home. We will not be responsible for accidents you have outside the hospital due to failure to adhere to our advice.
  • Wear sensible clothing on the day of the procedure. Leave your jewellery and valuables at home. Ladies, bring flat soled shoes so you don’t have to go home tottering on high heels!
  • If you are on blood thinning medication (anticoagulants, antiplatelet agents) you may need to stop the medication for 5-7 days before the procedure. Examples include Aspirin, Cardiprin, Clopidrogel, Ticlodipine, Xarelto and Warfarin. If in doubt, check with me or your own doctor.
  • OGDS is a pretty safe procedure overall. The vast majority of patients do not have any problems. However in very rare situations when I may have cause for concern, I may request you to stay overnight for observation.