What to Expect During Your Endoscopy Visit

Below is a general guideline of what patients can expect before, during and after an endoscopy procedure at the Tully Endoscopy Center. Patients should receive a detailed list of instructions from their doctor on the bowel preparation (prep) form. Patients must follow the instructions exactly in order for the physician to have clear visualization; any matter left in the intestinal tract can prevent the doctor from seeing an area of concern. Should the patient have any questions, he or she should not hesitate to call us at 203.276.4813 between the hours of 12:30 and 2:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. Our goal is to have all endoscopy procedures done in a safe and comfortable manner.

Before the Procedure Day

About 24- hours prior to the procedure, a registered nurse will call the patient. During the call, the nurse will confirm the time of the procedure and ask the patient to arrive -60 minutes before the scheduled time. This is necessary to allow enough time for the procedural steps of registration and to get the patient ready for the test itself.

A patient account representative will also call the patient to verify insurance information. If the patient has not received a call within three days of the procedure, he or she should call our center at 203.276.4687 between the hours of 7 a.m. and 2 p.m. Monday through Friday. Some insurance carriers require the copayment of a facility fee for certain procedures. Patients should call their insurance carrier to verify if a copayment will be needed, and if so, determine the amount required. Any copayment is due at time of check in.

For the procedure we ask that patients do the following:

  1. Arrange for a responsible adult to take them home after the procedure. Following the procedure patients cannot take a taxi, bus, or walk home without a responsible person to accompany them. The procedure will not be done unless proper transportation arrangements are in place.
  2. Patients should bring a driver’s license or other government-issued photo ID, insurance card, and a list of medicines they take.
  3. Do not eat or drink anything (including water) after midnight for a procedure the following day, unless instructed by a physician to take any medications or additional laxative preparation on the day of the procedure.
  4. If a doctor has specifically told the patient to take medication on the morning of the procedure, the patient should take it with only a small sip of water.
  5. Follow their doctor’s instructions about diet and medicines. The doctor will let the patient know if he or she has to stop taking any medications prior to the procedure. These may include blood-thinning medication such as Coumadin, Warfarin, Ticlid, Plavix, aspirin, Aggrenox, ibuprofen, naproxen, and most arthritis medication. If patients have any questions, they should contact their physician for instructions. These medications may need to be discontinued up to 10 days prior to the procedure.
  6. Patients should contact their doctor for instructions regarding the dosage of diabetic medication (diabetes pills or insulin) while preparing for this procedure.
  7. Patients should not skip any heart, blood pressure, or seizure medication unless otherwise instructed by their doctor.
  8. If there is a question or problem with the pre-procedure bowel preparation, patients should call their physician.

What to Expect During the Visit

The visit will take approximately two to three hours, from admission through discharge. We strive to keep the schedule running on time; however, unforeseen circumstances do occur, in which case we will update the patient about any delays.

During the several stages of pre-procedure processing, different members of the staff may ask the patient the same questions, such as the time of last food or drink, allergies the patient may have, the name of the person who will take the patient home, and the patient’s name and birthday. Please be advised that this is done for the safety of the patient and to prevent or minimize procedure-related complications, and to reliably identify the patient for whom service or treatment is intended.

Before the Procedure

After checking in at the registration desk, the patient will meet with a patient account representative to verify demographic and insurance information. The patient will be asked to show his or her insurance card, driver’s license or other government-issued photo ID, and to submit any copayment required.

A member of the nursing staff will take the patient into the endoscopy department, where the patient will change into a gown and use the bathroom if needed. The patient will be asked to remove any jewelry or other objects such as a hearing aid, dentures, or contact lenses that may interfere with the procedure. (Family members or friends can remain with the patient until the patient is taken into the procedure room.) A registered nurse will interview the patient and ask him or her to sign a procedural consent form. At this time, the nurse will ask for the phone number of the person driving the patient home. If we are not able to confirm that someone will be able to take the patient home after the procedure, the test will be rescheduled.

The patient will be helped onto a stretcher, where a nurse will check blood pressure, heart rate and temperature. An endoscopy nurse will start an intravenous (IV) line. An anesthesiologist will meet with the patient prior to the procedure; if the patient has any concerns regarding sedation, this is the best opportunity to ask about it. The patient’s physician will speak with him or her immediately before the procedure, either in the preoperative area or in the procedure room.

During the Procedure

Family members and/or friends will be asked to remain in the waiting room where they can watch TV or read. There is a cafe available in the lobby for their convenience. Should they decide to leave temporarily, they will be asked to leave a phone number where they can be reached. Patients must make sure that we are able to reach their driver when called. The recovery room staff will call the driver to confirm the time the patient will be discharged.

The patient will be taken by stretcher to the procedure room. Upon arrival in the procedure room, monitors will be applied to observe heart rate, oxygen level and blood pressure. The patient will then be positioned on his or her left side, with knees drawn toward the chest. The anesthesiologist will administer intravenous sedating agents prior to the start of the procedure. The gastroenterologist will perform the procedure while the patient is sleeping. At the conclusion of the exam the patient will be transferred to the recovery area.

After the Procedure

In the recovery area, the patient will receive special care while recovering from sedation. The nurses will notify the patient’s family members or friends that he or she is in the recovery room. Family members or friends can usually see the patient within 15 minutes of his or her arrival in the recovery area. The recovery time after the procedure is approximately 45 minutes, after which time the patient will receive discharge instructions and the family member or friend must accompany the patient home.

Once the patient is fully awake, our doctor will provide the discharge instructions, give the patient a preliminary report on what was done and answer any questions the patient might have. The recovery nurse will review the discharge instructions with the patient and will also give written instructions to follow at home. Patients should make sure they fully understand the instructions. It is helpful to have another responsible adult listening as the nurse reviews the instructions.

After the procedure, patients should expect to be drowsy for the rest of the day, so they should not drive a car, sign legal documents, operate machinery or drink alcoholic beverages. When they get home, patients should take it easy. If they take a light nap they should get up from it slowly.

If there is unexpected severe pain, heavy bleeding, fever or other problems, the patient should call his or her doctor immediately or go to the emergency room. This is also noted in the discharge instructions.

Within 24- hours following the procedure, a nurse will call to see how the patient is feeling. During the patient’s admission, and for privacy reasons, the patient will be asked if we may leave a voice message in case an answering system picks up the call. Unless the patient has questions there is no need to return our call.