Before the Exam
What happens before the exam?
You will be mailed instructions from the gastroenterologist. Please call Central Scheduling, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., to pre register with the hospital. Even though the gastroenterologist gets your insurance information, the hospital ALSO needs it.
Medicines you should stop seven days before an exam:
- NSAIDS (Celebrex, Bextra etc)
- Blood thinners (coumadin, Plavix, Ticlid)
Be sure to discuss with your primary physician before stopping these medicines. Note: Lovenox should only be stopped 12 hours before your examination.
Medicines you should take up to and including the day of the exam:
- Blood pressure medicines
- Heart medicines
- Diabetics - take ½ of morning insulin and talk to your diabetes doctor. Please do a fingerstick at home so you can tell us your glucose measurement when you arrive. Diabetic pills should not be taken until after the exam.
Preparation for each test:
When scheduled for an EGD: Esophagogastoduodenoscopy (looking at the stomach), in addition to stopping the medications listed above, the only preparation is to take nothing by mouth for 8 hours before the exam.
When scheduled for an ERCP: endoscopic retrograde cholagiopancreatogram (looking at liver and pancreas ducts), in addition to stopping the medications listed above, the only preparation is to take nothing by mouth for 8 hours before the exam. Arrive two hours early due to necessary blood tests to be done.
When scheduled for an EUS: endoscopic ultra sound (looking at stomach, liver, pancreas or colon usually for tumor staging), in addition to stopping the medications listed above, the only preparation is to take nothing by mouth for 8 hours before the exam.
When scheduled for a manometry, acid reflux study: 24 hour pH study or 48 hour BravopH study, the preparation is to take nothing by mouth for 8 hours before the exam. For all these tests, acid reducing medications must be stopped 7 DAYS before the test. Look at the link in the web site at the end of this section for "manometry" for a detailed listing of medications to stop before these tests.
When scheduled for a colonoscopy or small bowel capsule endoscopy (looking at the large intestine), in addition to stopping the medications listed above, a laxative preparation to completely clean the colon is required. This is taken the day before the exam. It is important to read the directions carefully and drink all the water that is recommended. This prevents severe dehydration. Putting the preparation solution in ginger ale and freezing it to slushy consistency makes it easier to drink. If you are still having solid or thick soft stool three hours before coming to the hospital, please call the gastroenterologist.
For more in depth descriptions of these tests, click here
Things to bring to the hospital:
- Photo ID
- Insurance Card
- Reading glasses
- Hearing aid
- List of medicines and allergies
Come to the hospital one hour before the scheduled test time. Read the instructions carefully to be sure of the correct arrival and procedure times. Valet parking is available.
You will need someone to drive you home. For personal safety you are not allowed to take a taxi by yourself or take the bus. The medication used for sedation makes you very forgetful and sleepy. Your test will not be done without someone to drive you home.
When you arrive at Penrose Hospital, if you have pre registered, go past the gift shop to the "W" elevators. Do not take the "E" elevators. The GI Lab is on the third floor. You will be asked for your insurance card and a photo ID.
A registered nurse will discuss your health history and tell you about the exam. Please feel free to ask questions. Remember, the only silly question is the one not asked! The nurse will start an IV after numbing you skin. It is used to give you fluids and medication. Every attempt is made to start your procedure on time.
You will change into a patient gown. Please bring only necessary valuables and jewelry with you. You will stay on the same stretcher the entire time, and your clothes and other belongings will stay on this stretcher with you.
The exam will usually take ½ hour and approximately 45-60 minutes will be spent in the recovery room waking up. Due to the forgetfulness from the medicine, we recommend a family member be available to speak with the doctor after your exam. In general, you will be ready to leave 2 ½ hours after arriving.