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Southern Arizona VA Health Care System

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Endoscopic Ultrasound

Endoscopic Ultrasound (EUS)

New technology has allowed for the development of a specialized endoscope that has ultrasound capabilities. This enables the physician to visualize the internal layers of the wall of the esophagus, stomach, first part of the small intestine, liver and pancreas. Being able to see an ultrasound image of the structures beyond the wall of the esophagus, stomach, and small intestine, allows the doctor to pass a small needle through the scope to take biopsy samples of pancreatic tumors, lymph nodes and other types of abnormalities. This technology can also be used in the staging of cancerous tumors of the esophagus, stomach, pancreas, and liver providing valuable information to the physicians for planning their patients care and treatment.

Preparing for Endoscopic Ultrasound

Follow these and any other instructions you are given before your endoscopic ultrasound. If you don’t follow the doctor’s instructions carefully, the test may need to be rescheduled.

  • Tell your healthcare provider before the exam if you are taking any medications or have any medical problems.
  • Do not eat or drink anything after midnight the night before your exam.
  • If your exam is in the afternoon, drink only clear liquids in the morning, and do not eat or drink anything for 6 hours before the exam.
  • On the morning of the procedure, take all important medications (for heart, high blood pressure or seizure disorders) as prescribed with a small amount of water.
  • Female patients under the age of 55 who have not had a hysterectomy will be required to provide a urine specimen upon arrival.
  • Bring your x-rays and any other test results you have. If they have been completed through the Southern Arizona VA Healthcare System, we will be able to view these images in the computer system.
  • Bring a responsible adult (over 18 years old) to your appointment. We will ask them to wait in the lobby and take you home after the procedure. If you arrive without a responsible adult, even if you complete the prep, your procedure may need to be rescheduled, or you may need to spend the night in the hospital. Please call your Patient Aligned Care Team (PACT) to discuss options in advance if you do not have someone to come with you to the appointment.

The Procedure

  • You lie on the endoscopy table.
  • You are given sedating (relaxing) medication through an intravenous (IV) line.
  • You swallow the ultrasound scope. This is thinner than most pieces of food that you swallow. It will not affect your breathing. The medication helps keep you from gagging.
  • Air is inserted to expand your GI tract. It can make you burp.
  • The ultrasound scope carries images of your upper GI tract to a video screen.

After the Test

  • You may discuss the preliminary results with your doctor at your visit. If tissue is removed, a letter with biopsy results will be mailed to your home address within 2 weeks.
  • After the procedure is done, plan to rest for the remainder of the day.
  • You will be able to eat after you leave the procedure area, unless your doctor advises otherwise.
  • You may feel a little bloating or have a sore throat for the first day.

Risks and Possible Complicaitons

  • Bleeding
  • A puncture or tear in the GI tract
  • Risks of anesthesia or sedating medications