Advancing Medicine: Keeping Your GI Tract on Track
Admission to the GI Unit
Your physician’s office should give you instructions whether you should take your medications the day of the exam. This includes over the counter medications and herbal supplements. Always check with your physician before stopping any medications. In most cases, aspirin, ibuprofen, vitamin E and blood thinning products should be held at least a week prior to the procedure. These medications thin the blood and may result in bleeding if biopsies are taken during your exam. The doses of other medications (such as insulin, oral hypoglycemic agents, blood pressure and cardiac medications) may be modified or held the day of the examination. You will be given written instructions when you may resume your medications at discharge. Be sure to inform your physician if you require antibiotics before dental or similar procedures. This may also be required before a colonoscopy or endoscopy.
We are very sensitive to our patients’ concern about privacy. After registration, you will be brought to a private prep room to change into hospital garb where a nurse will check your vital signs, document your medical history and review the procedure and discharge instructions. You will then be taken to a private room for your procedure. The door remains closed at all times during your exam. After the procedure, you will be brought to the recovery area where your vitals signs are monitored closely as you wake from the sedation. There are curtains enclosing each stretcher area. If you are uncomfortable or embarrassed about your exam, please indicate these concerns to your nurse and doctor. We make every effort to ensure our patients are treated with respect.
Sedation is the use of medications to provide relaxation and comfort to patents undergoing endoscopic procedures. A physician, an anesthesiologist or a registered nurse may administer these medications. Your vital signs (blood pressure, heart rate and oxygen levels) are monitored continuously during the procedure and recovery period to assure your safety. Sedation is very safe for most people. Your physician will need to know your medical history, the names and doses of any medications you take, including over the counter and herbal preparations, and if you have any drug allergies. This information is important for the physician to plan what type and dose of sedation is right for you. After the procedure, you may experience some amnesia as a result of the sedation and may feel relaxed for several hours after discharge. You are advised not to drive, drink alcohol or perform any tasks requiring mental awareness for the rest of the day.
A polyp is a small “wart-like” growth, which may grow on the lining of the colon. Most polyps are benign, but some can be pre-cancerous and may grow into tumors. If a polyp is seen during the colonoscopy, the physician will remove it using special forceps or a polyp snare. Cautery may also be used. This is painless to the patient. The polyp is then sent to the pathology lab for biopsy and results are usually available within a week. You will be given specific instructions how to get these results. As a result, the physician will advise you to repeat your exam in two or three years to monitor any further polyp growth.