Surgical Services

Gastroscopy for Barrett’s Oesophagus Surveillance

IntroductionShow [+]Hide [-]

This information has been produced to explain what is involved in having a Gastroscopy for Barrett’s Oesophagus Surveillance and aims to answer any questions that you may have.


What is a gastroscopy?


A gastroscopy is an upper gastrointestinal (GI) endoscopy or oesophago-gastro duodenoscopy (O.G.D).  It is an examination of the lining of your gullet (oesophagus), stomach, and the first part of your intestine (duodenum), performed by passing a gastroscope (a flexible tube
with a small camera at the end) through your mouth and into your stomach. 


Small tissue samples (biopsies) will be taken through the gastroscope which is painless.  The complete test will take between 10 - 25 minutes.

What is Barrett’s Oesophagus?


In Barrett’s Oesophagus the lining at the lower end of the gullet is found to have changed from being skin-like to being like the lining of the stomach.   It can lead to complications such as ulcers in the gullet, bleeding, difficulty in swallowing due to a narrowing of the gullet and occasionally cancer.  Only a minority of patients will develop any of the above complications.

Before your procedureShow [+]Hide [-]

In order to examine the stomach properly it must be empty so please do not eat anything for four hours or drink anything for two hours before your appointment time. 

If you take prescription medication take them at the normal time.  If you are a Diabetic or taking Warfarin, Aspirin or Clopidogrel tablets, please contact the Endoscopy Unit.

Before the procedure you will be seen by a qualified nurse and the Endoscopist and you will have the opportunity to discuss any concerns or worries at this time

You will be asked to sign a consent form indicating that you understand the nature and risks of the procedure.  The consent form is a legal document, therefore please read it carefully.

The test may be carried out using either a sedative injection to make you feel drowsy and relaxed or local anaesthetic spray applied to your throat.  As the examination is likely to take at least 10 minutes, we recommend that you choose to have the examination using a sedative injection.

Test using a sedative injection:  The sedative injection makes you sleepy, relaxed and less anxious.  It is not a general anaesthetic and you will not be unconscious, but it is unlikely you will remember much about the procedure. 

Test using local anaesthetic spray:  Local anaesthetic spray is applied to the back of your throat to make it numb.  You will not be sleepy and will be able to go home soon after the examination.  As the spray numbs your throat you will be unable to eat or drink for 1 hour after the examination.

During your procedureShow [+]Hide [-]

Your test will be performed by a qualified endoscopist or a trainee endoscopist under direct supervision.  Aqualified nurse will remain with you throughout the procedure. 

In the examination room you will be made comfortable on a trolley, resting on your left side.   You will be asked to remove any dentures or glasses. A plastic guard will be placed in your mouth to protect your teeth and the gastroscope. A clip will be lightly attached to your finger to check your pulse rate and oxygen level. Oxygen will be administered into your nostril if necessary.

The endoscopist will pass the gastroscope over your tongue, down into your gullet and into your stomach.  This will not interfere with your breathing and will not be painful, but may be slightly uncomfortable due to the air that the endoscopist puts into the stomach to obtain a good view.

Any saliva or other secretions produced during the test will be removed using a small suction tube, rather like the one used at the dentist.

Small tissue samples (biopsies) will be taken through the gastroscope which is painless.  These will be retained.

A video recording and /or photographs may be taken for your records and will only be seen by those involved in your care.

After your procedureShow [+]Hide [-]

After the gastroscopy you may have a sore throat and may feel bloated.

If you have had sedation you will be transferred to the recovery area, where a nurse will stay with you until the effects of the sedation have worn off.

You will not be fit to go home by public transport.  A relative or friend must collect you directly from the ward to take you home after your test.  Please liaise with the ward staff to arrange a time. 

Once home you should rest quietly for the remainder of the day. Please ensure a responsible adult remains with you until the next morning as the after effects of the injection may make you sleepy and forgetful for 24 hours after the test.

For 24 hours following the test you must not:

  • Drive a vehicle
  • Operate machinery 
  • Drink alcohol 
  • Sign any legal documents
  • Be left alone to care for children

If you had a throat spray you will be able to go home soon after the test is completed and you will be unable to eat or drink for one hour after the test.

When will I know the result of my gastroscopy?

Sedation makes you forgetful, but the endoscopist or nurse, in the presence of your accompanying relative or friend, will discuss the results of the test with you, if you wish.  Before you are discharged you should be given clear details concerning follow-up arrangements and you will receive the results of your biopsies at your out patient appointment or by letter if you require treatment.

A full report will also be sent to your GP.

Questions or problems?

If you have any further questions you should contact:

Freeman Hospital 

Endoscopy Unit between 9.00 am - 4.30 pm on direct line (0191) 223 1208

Day Treatment Centre (Ward 21)   on direct line (0191) 223 1294

Endoscopy Unit between 9.00 am - 4.30 pm on direct line (0191) 282 5655

Endoscopy Unit between 9.00 am - 4.30 pm 0191 256 2913  (Extension 22913)

If you have any queries or require any further information out of these hours, please contact your GP, visit NHS Emergency and Urgent Care Services or call tel: 111 

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