Endoscopy: a safe procedure shrouded in myths and fears
Endoscopy is surrounded by a series of myths and fears that affect those who must undergo this procedure. For this reason, Dr. Fabiolina Sánchez, from the Center for Diabetes, Obesity, and Specialties (CEMDOE), highlighted the importance of identifying certain parameters and signals to ensure the safety and peace of mind of the patient.
She explained that endoscopy is a safe procedure, as it follows different phases established as standards through international protocols. In the case of CEMDOE, a medical center accredited by the Joint Commission International (JCI), it adheres to strict norms with the aim of safeguarding patient safety throughout their care process. These norms range from indication based on clinical practice guidelines, prior evaluations, and correct patient identification to safety pauses before, during, and after the procedure.
Sánchez also emphasized the importance of patients choosing a safe environment for the procedure, strictly adhering to cleaning and disinfection standards.
At the same time, she recommended that, before the study, patients undergo evaluation and approval by both the cardiologist, if applicable, and the anesthesiologist.
“It is crucial to address any previous difficulty and then undergo evaluation again. In addition, there is a need to report any newly occurring symptoms on the day of the study, emphasizing manifestations such as dizziness, fever, pain, abdominal distension, nausea, and/or vomiting, as this could lead to changes in plans and, ultimately, rescheduling the study,” detailed the CEMDOE doctor.
Myths and Fears
Endoscopic studies have been conducted for a long time, and with its progression, there have been more advances in technology, diagnosis, and treatment, as well as in patient comfort during the procedure. “Techniques have evolved; previously, endoscopy was a traumatic procedure where the patient was conscious of everything that happened, experiencing discomfort that they remembered for a long time. To date, we have patients with ‘inherited’ fears due to information passed down about the pain or discomfort of this study,” said Dr. Sánchez.
She pointed out that another significant concern stems from the belief that the patient may die from anesthesia. The specialist explained that this is one of the safest procedures, where anesthesia or sedation is administered by an anesthesiologist, and the patient is strictly monitored at all times.
“Furthermore, waking up is extremely quick because it is a short-duration procedure, and it is important to note that the recommended fasting is 4 to 6 hours prior to the study, so it can be done in the afternoon,” detailed Sánchez.
It is important to highlight that endoscopic studies of the digestive pathways serve to explore, diagnose, treat, and study the digestive system. These studies are frequent and common; they use a hose-shaped device with a light and a camera at the tip, as well as a working channel for the introduction of instruments to perform specific procedures.