Upper gastrointestinal endoscopy is a diagnostic procedure done in order to assess the conditions that are affecting upper parts of gastrointestinal tract. Complications due to this method are rather rare. All the complications may be divided into cardiopulmonary complications, complications due to sedation, infections, perforation within gastrointestinal tract and hemorrhage.
Cardiopulmonary complications occur mainly because of the anesthesia which is regularly administered during the endoscopy. Out of all complications these are the most usual during endoscopy. They feature in slight changes in vital signs and even can present with myocardial infarct and breathing depression. Shock due to hypotension may develop as well. However all of the previously mentioned complications are much common for people who already suffer from cardiac and pulmonary diseases. They are also more frequent in elderly patients. Today conscious sedation is applied more and constant monitoring prevents certain complications from developing. In case of cardiopulmonary arrest the methods of resuscitation are performed. All the medications that may be needed are at doctor's hand.
The infections after the procedure may be cause by the procedure itself or the infective agents which may contaminate the equipment. There is possibility of transitory bacteriemia during the endoscopy. In rather rare cases bacterial endocarditic may occur as one pretty serious complication of the procedure. This is why in some cases antibiotics are administered as a method of prophylaxis. In extreme cases retropharyngeal or retro esophageal abscesses may develop. The equipment is regularly sterilized so the possibility of contamination is reduced to the minimum.
One of the serious complications includes perforation. This does not happen often but can be severe. One of the factors that may predispose this complication is the presence of anterior cervical osteophytes. Zenger’s diverticulum is a condition which makes the wall of the pharynx or esophagus thinner hence the place of the change is more susceptible for perforation. Esophageal strictures and malignancies of the upper gastrointestinal tract may also be the cornerstone for perforation. In case of esophageal perforation the rate of lethal outcome is around 25%. The state features with pain in the chest, fever and increased number of white blood cells. If the air from the gastrointestinal tract comes into the peritoneum it can be identified by plain radiograph of the abdomen. The prognosis of this complication basically depends on the place of perforation and the overall health of the patient.
Bleeding may also occur during the gastrointestinal endoscopy. Extreme bleeding is not so common. The individuals prone to bleeding are those suffering from thrombocytopenia and coagulopathy. All the biopsies are taken with precautions.