Endoscopy prep is fairly simple, mostly involving a short fast and stopping any medications that can compromise the procedure. Medical personnel will usually provide a list of complete instructions. Endoscopy is an outpatient procedure, so no overnight stay is required. Since sedation is used during the endoscopy, patients need to arrange transportation to and from the medical center.
An endoscopy involves the insertion of a long flexible tube with a camera and light on the end into the gastrointestinal tract. Images from inside the patient are projected on a monitor where the doctor can see them. Endoscopy is used to help diagnose digestive disorders such as ulcers, hiatal hernias, or cancer. Attachments can take tissue samples for analysis.
The patient should inform the doctor of all regular medications. Blood thinners and diabetes drugs may need to be stopped or adjusted a few days before as part of the endoscopy prep. Any heart or lung problems, pregnancy, or other conditions should be disclosed in case extra attention is needed during the procedure. The patient will be given a diet sheet with instructions on restricting food and drink the night before to minimize the danger of aspiration under anesthesia.
Fasting during endoscopy prep also serves to completely empty the digestive system so nothing is obscured or discolored. The patient is typically not allowed solid food for at least eight hours, only clear liquids and no dairy, and nothing red or purple. Regular medications can be taken with a sip of water. For the last four hours prior, nothing at all should be taken by mouth, including tobacco or mints.
Patients might wish to bathe or shower before heading to the medical center. Loose clothing is recommended to make it easier to change into a gown. Long hair can be pulled back into a ponytail and jewelry should be left at home, including piercings. Endoscopy prep involves a lot of waiting in chilly hospital rooms, so warm socks are a good idea. The medical team will bring extra blankets if needed.
The patient will not be able to drive after the procedure due to the sedation, and endoscopy prep should include transportation arrangements. It is wise to have another person there who can receive instructions from medical personnel since the sedative might make the patient woozy. Most medical centers will cancel an endoscopy if the patient cannot get home safely afterward, but in some cases a taxi may be allowed. Many cities have private firms that perform medical transport for a small fee, which is acceptable if a taxi is not permitted.