Most patients undergoing endoscopic procedures receive pain medicines and/or sedatives to allow them to tolerate the planned procedure. In many cases, an endoscopy nurse, under the direction of the gastroenterologist, will give sedation in the form of small doses of medications to help calm the patient and alleviate any discomfort. Some patients require deeper sedation or general anesthesia, in which case an anesthesiologist is present to deliver stronger medications that allow the patient to safely undergo the planned procedure. Specifically, patients who are obese or very anxious, or those with sleep apnea or multiple medical problems, may benefit from having an anesthesia provider’s care. If you have any questions about sedation or anesthesia, ask your gastroenterologist which he or she will be requesting.
If you have sleep apnea, multiple medical conditions or have had trouble with an endoscopy in the past, you may have a consultation with an anesthesiologist prior to your endoscopy date. Have your gastroenterologist write you a prescription for a “pre-op consultation” with the Department of Anesthesiology. You may then call to make an appointment at 202-537-4955 to discuss and plan your care as appropriate. The appointment MUST take place at least two days before your scheduled procedure.
You may request a specific anesthesiologist by speaking with your gastroenterologist or by calling the Anesthesia Office at 202-243-2280 several days prior to your procedure.