"Gastroscopy in Endoscopy Unit"

About: Diana, Princess Of Wales Hospital

I had my 1st gastroscopy 18 years,in a different hospital, without sedation or throat spray. It was an extremely unpleasant and distressing experience. So I was not looking forward to having another one yesterday. The appointment was in the afternoon,so by the time I arrived in the unit, I was terrified, despite deciding to have sedation this time. (What the otherwise very informative booklet fails to mention is the constant gagging and retching caused by having a scope going into the stomach).

On arrival, I sat in a waiting area to be called; this was about 20-30 minutes later than my appointment time. A nurse checked my details etc.,and various benefits of sedation versus throat spray were discussed. I explained that I was very frightened,and that my main fear was the prospect of continuous retching and having a panic attack,which happened during the 1998 procedure.However, I wanted to be in control,but the nurse said this couldn’t be guaranteed with sedation,so I chose to have just throat spray,which I was told tasted like burnt bananas.

Another nurse led me into the room where the procedure was to take place.

A nasal oxygen cannula was attached, plus a heart rate finger monitor,and the nurse who was to perform the procedure then sprayed the throat spray. It didn’t taste too bad at all,although after 7 hours without food or drink,anything would have tasted OK.

My throat went numb straight away,and I then laid down on the trolley.A mouth guard was place in my mouth,and the procedure started. It was still unpleasant,but all the staff present were giving so much reassurance and encouragement,as well as a commentary of what was happening, that I was far less scared this time.( I could have watched it all on a monitor,but chose not to). I could feel when biopsies were taken,and when the scope was entering my duodenum-weird and uncomfortable,but not at all painful. I did retch on a few occasions, but not constantly as I had the 1st time.

After the scope was removed, I started to shake-probably a mixture of shock and relief,so was taken on the trolley to the recovery room for a short while. Observations were taken,but I soon felt well enough to get up and sit in a chair.While waiting for my escort to collect me, the results were explained to me; I was given a print-out of these,plus advice on what to do if I felt unwell later.

From the moment I arrived on the unit until the time I left, I found the staff to be caring,professional,reassuring and understanding. Although I can think of better ways to spend an afternoon,if I had to have a similar procedure, I would have no hesitation in having it performed here again. I still wouldn’t look forward to it,but I would be far less apprehensive.

Thank you to all who were with me yesterday.

Story from NHS Choices

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Response from Diana, Princess Of Wales Hospital

Hi, thank you very much for your feedback, I'm sure it will help reassure other patients who might be feeling nervous about having a gastroscopy. The team are indeed very good at settling patients and supporting them through the procedure. They'll really appreciate your kind words, too.

Best wishes,

Sarah Mainprize

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