Often patients with gastroparesis will undergo a colonoscopy to check for blockages, inflammation, abnormal twisting of the bowel, or other problems.
The patient will be instructed to remain on a liquid diet for up to 24 hours before the procedure. In addition, the patient will be required to perform some form of bowel prep whether it is an enema or laxative. Both steps are crucial in order to ensure that the tissues are visible during the procedure.
Before the test:
It is usually necessary for the patient to arrive at the hospital 30 minutes to an hour before the test. The medical staff will review medical records, allergies, and monitor blood pressure and temperature. The patient will be placed on a heart monitor and given an IV in preparation for IV sedation. Once taken to the procedures room, sedation medications are started and the patient is instructed to lay on his/her left side.
During the test:
While under sedation, the physician performing the procedure will gently place a scope with a camera through the rectum and into the colon. Air is inserted into the bowel in order to make the tissues more visible. The scope will then be guided through the large bowel into the opening of the small bowel. Tissue samples (biopsies) are taken and images are recorded for further review and documentation.
After the test:
The patient is returned to a recovery area to be monitored until he/she is alert and able to drink sips of water or juice. Driving is restricted for 24 hours, so the patient must be accompanied by a friend or family member. It is recommended that a soft diet be followed for the remainder of the day. Common side effects include nausea, bloating, fatigue, and gas due to the air inserted during the procedure. Bleeding, fever, bowel perforation, or pain are uncommon, but should be reported immediately.
Some results are available instantaneously. Biopsies will be sent for review and may not be available for several days.