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A gastroscopy is a very safe procedure and the risks of serious complications are small.
If it's used to diagnose a condition, it has less than a 1 in 1,000 chance of causing complications.
A gastroscopy used to treat a condition is more invasive and has a higher risk of complications. However, the risk is still relatively small, at around 1 in 100.
Some of the possible complications of a gastroscopy include:
These are described below.
Sedation is usually safe, but it can occasionally cause problems, such as:
Sometimes, during a gastroscopy, the endoscope can accidentally damage a blood vessel, causing it to bleed. However, significant bleeding is very rare.
Signs of bleeding can include vomiting blood and passing black or "tar-like" stools.
The site of the bleeding can usually be repaired during a further gastroscopy. A blood transfusion may also be required to replace lost blood.
During a gastroscopy, there's a very small risk of the endoscope tearing the lining of your oesophagus, stomach or the first section of your small intestine (duodenum). This is known as perforation.
Signs of perforation can include:
If the perforation isn't severe, it can usually be left to heal by itself. You may be given antibiotics to prevent an infection occurring at the site of the tear. Surgery may be needed to repair more serous perforations.