Each year, millions of Americans are diagnosed with digestive disorders, ranging from the occasional upset stomach to the more life-threatening colorectal cancer. They encompass disorders of the gastrointestinal tract, as well as the liver, gallbladder, and pancreas.

Reaching a diagnosis requires a thorough and accurate medical history and physical examination. Some patients may need to undergo more extensive diagnostic evaluations, including lab tests, endoscopic procedures, and imaging techniques. Physicians who specialize in the treatment of digestive problems are called gastroenterologists.

Endoscopic Procedures

During endoscopy, a long narrow, flexible tube called an endoscope is used to examine the inside of your body (endo=within; scope=look). An endoscope has a light and a tiny computer chip can show video images of the inside of your gastrointestinal (GI) tract.

  • Upper endoscopy allows the doctor to look inside the esophagus (the tube running from your mouth to your stomach), stomach and upper part of the small intestine.
  • Lower endoscopy allows the doctor to examine your lower GI tract. Your entire colon and rectum can be examined (colonoscopy), or just the lower part-the rectum and sigmoid colon (sigmoidoscopy).

Planning for Your Endoscopy

Endoscopy is done while you are under sedation medication that will make you sleepy and comfortable. Once the sedative has been given to you, the State of Connecticut requires that a responsible adult (18 or older) must accompany you home.

  • You cannot drive yourself home after your procedure. If you arrive planning to do so, your procedure will be cancelled.
  • If you arrive planning to walk home, your procedure will be cancelled.
  • You cannot take a taxi home alone, but may do so accompanied by an adult.
  • You may use People to Places transportation if you are a member.

During the Procedure and Recovery

Once you are in the procedure room, you will be connected to monitors to record vital signs. An oxygen cannula (a device with two short prongs that fit in the openings of your nostrils) will be placed in your nose, so that a low dose of oxygen can be supplied during your procedure. You will be asked to lie on your left side for the procedure. If you have any difficulties with this position, please let the nurse know.

When the doctor arrives, you will be given medication through the intravenous line. This medicine works quickly and will make you feel sleepy and comfortable. Additional medication will be given throughout the procedure, as needed.

When the procedure is completed, you will be moved to the recovery area. While you are here, vital signs will be monitored for about one hour. We will give you something to drink and will make sure you understand instructions for caring for yourself at home after the procedure.

Shortly before you are ready to go home, the nurse will call your ride or inform the person who is waiting for you that it is time to bring the car to the discharge area.

Information regarding the following will be shared with you by a hospital representative after you have been scheduled for your procedure:

  • How to Pre-Register
  • Physical Preparation for the Procedure
  • Arriving and Parking the Day of the Procedure
  • Admission the Day of the Procedure
  • Discharge Information