Before doing a gastroscopy, your doctor may perform another procedure first.
Doctors consider gastroscopy to be the ‘gold standard’ for examining the upper part of your gastrointestinal tract. There are some procedures that your doctor can do beforehand which, depending on the results, may mean you won’t need one. These procedures are all lower in cost than gastroscopy. They don’t require sedation and have less risk of complications.
Barium swallow or barium meal
Barium (barium sulphate) is a powder which you mix with water and swallow. It helps to highlight the organs of the digestive system in an x-ray.
A barium swallow or meal can provide complementary information to a gastroscopy. However, there are some disadvantages. Unlike gastroscopy, it doesn’t give the doctor direct views of the lining of your digestive tract and biopsy samples can’t be taken. It also involves x-ray radiation.
Diagnosis of Helicobacter pylori infection
Helicobacter pylori is a bacterium which can cause stomach ulcers. Your doctor can use a blood test to check for antibodies to Helicobacter pylori, a stool test to show if your body’s fighting an infection from the bacterium, or a breath test to detect the presence of the bacterium in your stomach. If the tests are negative, you may not need gastroscopy.
Diagnosis of Coeliac Disease
A gastroscopy may be recommended by your doctor to examine your small bowel for changes typical to coeliac disease. Biopsies taken during the gastroscopy will confirm a diagnosis of coeliac disease. However prior to a gastroscopy, blood tests (Coeliac serology), gene testing (HLA gene) and gluten challenge may also be recommended by your doctor.
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