This test combines an ultrasound and endoscopy to look at your food pipe, stomach, pancreas and nearby lymph nodes.
An endoscopy is a test to look inside your body. Your doctor uses a long flexible tube (endoscope) with a tiny camera and light on the end. They put this into your mouth and down into your stomach. They attach an ultrasound probe to the endoscope. The probe uses high frequency sound waves to create a picture of the inside of your body.
Why you might have it
You might have this test to find out if you have pancreatic cancer. Or you might have it to see how big the cancer is and whether it has spread.
Preparing for your test
You might have a blood test 2 days beforehand to check how well your blood clots.
Tell your doctor if you're taking medicine that changes how your blood clots. This includes:
- arthritis medicines
- warfarin or heparin
- apixaban or rivaroxaban
Your doctor tells you if you need to stop taking any other medicines.
You can't eat for 6 to 8 hours before the test but you might be able to drink sips of water up to 2 hours before your appointment. Your doctor or nurse gives you written instructions about this beforehand.
Talk to your doctor if not eating could be a problem for you. For example, if you have diabetes.
Your doctor will explain what they are going to do and you’ll sign a consent form. This is a good time to ask any questions you might have.
How you have it
Usually you have an endoscopy in hospital as an outpatient. A doctor or a specialist nurse (endoscopist) does the test. A nurse stays with you when you have it. The test usually takes less than 30 minutes.
When you arrive at the clinic, the staff might ask you to take your upper clothing off and put on a hospital gown.
You might have the test while you're awake but you can choose to have a medicine to make you drowsy (a sedative).
Voiceover: An endoscopy is a test to look at your foodpipe, stomach and the first part of your bowel.
You may have this test if you have abnormal bleeding, lasting indigestion or difficulty in swallowing.
On the day of the test you should not eat or drink for at 6 hours beforehand.
Just before the test your doctor will spray the back of your throat to numb it. Or give you a sedative which will make you forget having the test.
A nurse puts a mouth guard into your mouth. Then they put a flexible tube called an endoscope into your mouth and down your throat.
This is uncomfortable and may make you gag. Concentrating on slow deep breathing helps.
On the end of the tube is a light and a camera, this sends pictures to a monitor. It also has a tool that can take samples of tissue.
Looking at the monitor they examine your foodpipe and then your stomach.
If they see any abnormal areas they will take a tissue sample –called a biopsy.
You won’t feel any pain and you will be able to breathe normally throughout.
Afterwards you need to rest for a while. Your throat maybe sore and you may feel bloated.
Your endoscopist may spray the back of your throat with local anaesthetic to numb it. You then lie down on the couch.
They put the endoscope into your mouth and pass it down your throat. They ask you to swallow as the tube goes down. They put a small amount of air into the tube to help them see your food pipe (oesophagus), stomach and first part of your bowel. The ultrasound gives detailed pictures of the surrounding areas such as the pancreas, bile ducts and nearby
Your endoscopist may take samples of any abnormal looking areas. They send these to the laboratory to be looked at closely under a microscope.
Your endoscopist gently removes the tube at the end of the test.
After your endoscopy
You need to rest for a while after the test.
You can't eat or drink for about an hour, until the local anaesthetic throat spray wears off. You might not remember much about the test if you have had a sedative drug.
You should be able to go home the same day. You can't drive or drink alcohol for 24 hours after having a sedative. You need someone to take you home from hospital and stay with you during this time.
Getting your results
You should get your results within 2 weeks. The results are sent to you and your GP or you may get them at a follow up appointment.
Waiting for test results can be a very worrying time. You might have contact details for a specialist nurse who you can contact for information if you need to. It can help to talk to a close friend or relative about how you feel.
Contact the doctor who arranged the test if you haven’t heard anything after a couple of weeks.
This is usually a safe procedure but your nurse will tell you who to contact if you have any problems afterwards. Your doctors will make sure the benefits outweigh the possible risks.
- bloating and discomfort lasting a few hours
- a sore throat that can last for up to 24 hours - contact the hospital if you have severe pain in your throat, chest or tummy (abdomen)
- fluid going into your lungs from your mouth - this is a small risk if you have a sedative but your nurse removes most of the secretions from your mouth during the test to reduce this risk
- a reaction to the sedative causing breathing difficulties - your nurse checks your oxygen levels during the test and you'll have oxygen through a tube that fits into your nose (nasal cannulae)
- a very small chance of the endoscope causing a tear in the lining of your oesophagus, stomach or small bowel. You might need an operation to repair this.
- inflammation of the pancreas (pancreatitis)