Endoscopy test checklist

Checklist before the test

1. Discuss and understand any proposed procedure in some detail and ask about the alternative(s).

2. Check the appointment date, time to attend, where to report (the ward or endoscopy unit).

3. Continue all usual medications unless you are advised to stop. The drugs requiring specific attention are "blood thinners". These include anti-coagulants e.g. warfarin, and anti-platelets e.g. clopidogrel and aspirin.

4. Follow advice from the endoscopy unit regarding duration of fasting, dietary modifications and laxatives (bowel preparation) instructions.

5. Contact the secretary and/or endoscopy unit if you are having problems following the above instructions or unable to attend the appointment (with adequate notice).

Attending for the endoscopy test

1. Arrange someone to get you to the hospital and home again by car or taxi on the day, as most tests are carried out under sedation.

2. Bring a list of medications (or actual medications if possible) that you are taking.

3. The majority of endoscopy tests are carried out as day cases, i.e. you can expect to be in the ward/ hospital for most of the morning (or afternoon) and be discharged on the same day. It would be advisable to prepare a light overnight pack including a dressing gown and a pair of slippers. Depending on the type of endoscopy test and treatment carried out, you may be kept in hospital overnight.

4. A nursing checklist/observations will be performed. A plastic cannula (tube) may be inserted into a vein (normally at the back of a hand).

5. You have the opportunity to ask any questions before signing the consent form.

The endoscopy test

1. You are collected from a ward or waiting area to an endoscopy room, which may be located at another part or building of the hospital. The endoscopy tests requiring x-ray facilities typically take place in radiology department.

2. Local anaesthetic throat spray may be given for tests involving upper gastrointestinal tract. If necessary, the sedative (calming) and/or painkiller medications are given via an injection into a vein.

3. The test duration depends on the type of endoscopy test and treatment carried out.

After the test

1. The recovery from sedative effect of medication(s) normally takes more than 1 hour, in the recovery area of endoscopy unit (or ward).

2. It is advisable someone accompanies you home and stay with you for at least 4 hours. The sedative medication effect may last for 24 hours. You should avoid travelling alone on public transport. You must not drive a car, operate machinery, make important decisions or drink alcohol for 24 hours as any sedation slows reflexes and impairs judgement.

3. The endoscopy results are available straight after the test, but not normally discussed with you on the same day as your recollection may be vague. It may take a week or two for the results of any biopsies taken to become available. An outpatient appointment may be made for you to discuss the test results and any biopsies taken.

4. Endoscopy can result in complications such as perforation of the intestine and bleeding. The risk is greater when the endoscope is used to apply treatment. These complications are very rare but may require urgent treatment or even an operation. If you become unwell with any pain, black tarry stools, or troublesome vomiting in the hours or days after endoscopy, you should attend the nearest accident and emergency unit for assessment. For less urgent problems, please notify Dr Wong’s secretary, see your GP or contact the endoscopy unit/ ward for advice.