Endoscopy risk factors

Endoscopy risk factors

Endoscopy risk factors

It rarely happens, but complications can occur. In all discussions leading up to your procedure, your doctor will do their utmost to foresee potential risk factors based on your current condition and take necessary precautions to avoid complications (as best they can).

Some risk factors include:

  • Bleeding: This can occur during a biopsy or during the treatment of a detected problems in any type scope procedure. It can happen that blood vessels are accidently punctured during a scope procedure causing haemorrhage.
  • Infection: The risk of an infection due to the scope procedure is low, but can increase when additional procedures are performed. Infections that do occur are generally minor and can be easily treated with antibiotics. You may even be given preventative antibiotics before a procedure if your doctor feels you are at higher risk of developing an infection during the scope.
  • Tearing: Sometimes a tear in the oesophagus or another part of the upper digestive tract can occur. A tear can also occur in the rectal wall or colon, and in the wall of the small intestine. If this happens, it may be required that you are hospitalised for treatment. In some cases, surgery may be needed to repair the damage.
  • Nerve damage and blood clots
  • Knee stiffness, injury or damage to ligaments, the cartilage, meniscus, nerves  or blood vessels  of the knee
  • A low blood oxygen level during a bronchoscopy
  • Pneumothorax: A collapsed lung can occur due to increased pressure on the lung as air escapes into the lining.
  • Allergic reactions to medications and sedatives (anaesthetic): Symptoms can include difficulty breathing, excessive sweating, low blood pressure, slow heartbeat, or spasm of the larynx.

Signs and symptoms that will alert your doctor to a possible complication having occurred post procedure include fever, chest pain, shortness of breath, difficulties with swallowing, severe or persistent abdominal pain, vomiting (especially if there is a presence of blood or it resembles coffee grounds), persistent pain in the area of scope insertion, redness and swelling at the site of an incision, and bloody, black or very dark coloured stool (faeces).

If you notice any of these changes in your body, it is strongly advised that you see your doctor as quickly as possible.

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