Endoscopy is a safe procedure with low rate of complications. However, following the doctor’s instructions and preparing as advised are important to minimise the risk of complications.
Preparing for endoscopy
Endoscopy is done as a day care procedure and the patient can usually go home after a few hours. In rare cases, the patient may have to stay in hospital after the procedure.
Consult your doctor regarding time and place to arrive at the medical facility. You will be informed about the possible complications and you will have to sign a consent form before the procedure. This is done as an undertaking that you understand the procedure, the possible risk and complications, and agree to do it.
Inform your doctor about your past medical and treatment history (previous surgeries), and other associated conditions such as diabetes, hypertension and all your current medications.
Follow your doctor’s advice regarding all your medications to be taken or avoided before the procedure. For example, if you are on warfarin or another anticoagulant ('blood thinning' drugs), the doctor will recommend you to stop the medication for 2-3 days before the procedure (this is done to prevent excessive bleeding during endoscopy). Do not stop medications for diabetes (to control blood sugar) or blood pressure without consulting your doctor. People with diabetes who are on insulin or oral drugs may need to alter the timing and dose of the medications. Your doctor can advice you about any change in dose or timing of the medications.
Follow your doctor’s advice regarding eating and drinking. You may be advised to stop drinking and eating a few hours before the procedure (such as avoid food and water after midnight). This is important for your safety and well-being.
After the procedure, most people are sent home the same day after a few hours. But the medications given for endoscopy (sedatives) may make you feel dizzy and slow after the procedure. Get a family or friend along with you to drive you back home. Discuss with your doctor regarding medications and precautions that need to be taken at home, follow up of treatment, and symptoms which need prompt consultation.
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