When to Consider Gastroscopy: Indications and Recommendations

Gastroscopy, also known as upper gastrointestinal endoscopy, is a diagnostic procedure used to visualize and examine the lining of the esophagus, stomach, and duodenum. In Singapore, where healthcare standards are high, gastroscopy is a commonly performed procedure that plays a crucial role in the diagnosis and management of various gastrointestinal conditions. Understanding when to consider gastroscopy, along with its indications and recommendations, is essential for both patients and healthcare providers.

Indications for Gastroscopy

Gastroscopy may be recommended for individuals experiencing a range of gastrointestinal symptoms or medical conditions. Some common indications for gastroscopy include:

Dyspepsia and Gastrointestinal Symptoms

Persistent symptoms such as abdominal pain, heartburn, nausea, vomiting, difficulty swallowing, or unexplained weight loss may warrant further investigation through gastroscopy. These symptoms could be indicative of underlying gastrointestinal disorders such as gastritis, peptic ulcers, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), or even esophageal or gastric cancers.

Gastrointestinal Bleeding

Gastroscopy is an invaluable tool for diagnosing the source of gastrointestinal bleeding, whether it occurs as overt bleeding (visible blood in vomit or stool) or occult bleeding (blood detected in stool tests). Common causes of gastrointestinal bleeding that may require gastroscopy include peptic ulcers, esophageal varices, Mallory-Weiss tears, or vascular malformations.

Evaluation of Suspected Lesions

Gastroscopy allows for direct visualization and biopsy of suspicious lesions detected during imaging studies such as CT scans or barium swallow studies. These lesions may include ulcers, polyps, strictures, or tumors, and biopsy results obtained during gastroscopy can help determine their nature and guide further management.

Screening and Surveillance

Individuals at increased risk of gastrointestinal cancers, such as those with a family history of esophageal, gastric, or colorectal cancer, may undergo gastroscopy for screening purposes. Similarly, patients with a history of premalignant conditions, such as Barrett’s esophagus or gastric intestinal metaplasia, may require regular surveillance gastroscopies to monitor disease progression and detect early signs of malignancy.

Recommendations for Gastroscopy

In Singapore, gastroscopy is typically performed by gastroenterologists or experienced endoscopists in specialized endoscopy units within hospitals or ambulatory endoscopy centers. Before undergoing gastroscopy, patients should be adequately informed about the procedure, its risks and benefits, and any necessary preparations required.

  • Preparation: Depending on the specific indications for gastroscopy, patients may be instructed to fast for a certain period before the procedure to ensure optimal visualization of the gastrointestinal tract. They may also be advised to temporarily discontinue certain medications, particularly blood thinners or antiplatelet agents, to minimize the risk of bleeding during the procedure.
  • Procedure: Gastroscopy is usually performed under sedation to ensure patient comfort and relaxation during the procedure. A thin, flexible endoscope equipped with a light source and camera is gently inserted through the mouth and advanced into the esophagus, stomach, and duodenum. The endoscopist carefully examines the mucosal lining of these structures, looking for any abnormalities or lesions. If necessary, biopsies or therapeutic interventions, such as polypectomy or hemostasis, can be performed during the procedure.
  • Aftercare: Following gastroscopy, patients are monitored in a recovery area until the effects of sedation wear off. They may experience mild throat discomfort or bloating due to air insufflation during the procedure, but these symptoms typically resolve quickly. Patients are usually allowed to resume their normal diet and activities shortly after gastroscopy, unless instructed otherwise by their healthcare provider.


Gastroscopy is a valuable diagnostic tool that plays a critical role in the evaluation and management of various gastrointestinal conditions. Understanding the indications for gastroscopy and following appropriate recommendations for the procedure can help ensure timely diagnosis, appropriate treatment, and optimal patient outcomes.

In Singapore, where healthcare standards are stringent, gastroscopy is readily available and performed by skilled healthcare professionals in specialized endoscopy units, contributing to the delivery of high-quality gastrointestinal care. If you experience persistent gastrointestinal symptoms or have concerns about your digestive health, consult your healthcare provider to determine whether gastroscopy is appropriate for you.

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