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How painful is a gastroscopy, and what kind of sedation is used during the procedure?

Gastroenterology Anaesthesia

I have a low pain tolerance, and a horrible gag reflex. May I know how uncomfortable the procedure is, and what kind of sedation will be used during the procedure?

DOCTOR’S ANSWER (1)

Thanks for the D2D. Gastroscopy is usually performed under moderate or ‘conscious’ sedation. This is a state where patient is ‘put to sleep’ or sedated, but can be respond purposefully when called or touched. The medication is given through an intravenous line, and I adjust the dose accordingly to achieve the desired state of sedation.

This way, I ensure that just enough sedation is given, and I avoid the side effects and complications of the medication. Most of my gastroscopy procedures are completed within 15 minutes, so the total dose of medication I give is low. Hence, the sedation is safe and wears off quickly, allowing patients to return to normal activities quickly. 

With effective sedation, gastroscopy is a painless procedure. Patients are comfortable throughout the procedure, and the gag reflux is usually not elicited.

After the gastroscopy, 20-40% of patients may complain of minor symptoms such as abdominal discomfort, bloating, nausea, headache and sore throat. These usually resolve the next day.

Less than 10% of patients complain of such symptoms, and mostly after complex or advanced procedures. Over 95% of my patients are fully awake and back to normal activities within the hour.

589 views 16 Oct 2018
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