Tuesday, July 15, 2008


Gastroscopy refers to an examination whereby the inner lining of the first past of the gastrointestinal tract (esophagus, stomach and duodenum) is visualized using a flexible instrument inserted through the mouth or the nose. The procedure is done under light sedation and is therefore performed without discomfort. It is done as an outpatient and usually takes about 5 minutes to complete. Results are available immediately.

Gastroscopy allows for the detection of diseases of the upper gastrointestinal tract. These range from cancer to benign growths (e.g. polyps) to ulcers. The procedure also allows the diagnosis of a bacterial infection (Helicobacter pylori) which can increase the risk of cancer and ulcers of the stomach. If abnormalities are detected, tissue can be obtained for detailed microscopic examination. If growths are detected (e.g. polyp-s), they can also be removed at the same time through the examining instrument.

Situations where gastroscopy is indicated included:

Evaluation of symptoms of

  • Abdominal pain
  • Recurrent vomiting, bloating and nausea
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Unexplained anaemia
  • Unexplained abdominal swelling or lump

Consultations for evaluation of abnormal blood tests and X-rays

  • Elevated cancer markers (e.g. CEA, CA19-9)
  • Low hemoglobin of unknown cause
  • Positive stool blood test
  • Abnormal X-rays (e.g. Barium meals, computer scans)

Dr Cheong Wei Kuen
MBBS (Singapore), MRCP (UK), M Med (Int Med), FAMS (Gastroenterology)
Consultant Physician & Gastroenterologist
Mount Elizabeth Medical Centre
WK Cheong Gastrointestinal & Liver Specialists Pte Ltd