This information will help you prepare for your upper endoscopy at Memorial Sloan Kettering (MSK). The doctor will use a flexible tube called an endoscope to see the inside of your esophagus (food pipe), stomach, and first part of your small intestine on a video monitor. The doctor can remove a small sample of tissue (biopsy) and take photos during your procedure.
1 Week Before Your Procedure
You may need to stop taking some of your medication before your procedure. We have included some common examples below.
- If you take medication to thin your blood, such as to treat blood clots or to prevent a heart attack or stroke, ask the doctor who prescribes it for you when to stop taking it. Some examples are aspirin, warfarin (Coumadin®), dalteparin (Fragmin®), heparin, tinzaparin (Innohep®), enoxaparin (Lovenox®), clopidogrel (Plavix®), and cilostazol (Pletal®).
- If you take insulin or other medications for diabetes, you may need to change the dose. Ask the doctor who prescribes your diabetes medication what you should do the day before and the morning of your procedure. If you take metformin or a medication that contains metformin, do not take it the day before or the day of your procedure.
- If you have an automatic implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (AICD), you need to get a clearance letter from your cardiologist (heart doctor) before your procedure.
- If you’ve had chest pain, trouble breathing that is new or worse, or have fainted in the last 6 weeks, you will need to get a clearance letter from your doctor before your procedure.
- Your MSK doctor’s office must receive your clearance letter at least 1 day before your procedure.
You must have someone 18 years or older take you home after your procedure. If you don’t have anyone, call one of the agencies below. They will provide someone to accompany you home, however there is usually a charge for this service and you will also need to provide transportation.
In New York:
- Partners in Care 888-735-8913
- Prime Care 212-944-0244
In New Jersey:
- Caring People 877-227-4649
3 Days Before Your Procedure
You will receive a telephone call from an endoscopy nurse. He or she will review the instructions in this guide with you and ask you questions about your medical history. The nurse will also review your medications and tell you which to take the morning of your procedure. Use the space below to write them down.
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The Day Before Your Procedure
A clerk from the Admitting Office will call you after 11:00 am the day before your procedure. He or she will tell you what time you should arrive at the hospital for your procedure. If you are scheduled for your procedure on a Monday, you will be called on the Friday before. If you do not receive a call by 5:00 pm, please call 212-639-7882.
If you need to cancel your procedure for any reason please call the doctor who scheduled it for you.
The Day of Your Procedure
Between midnight and up until 2 hours before your scheduled arrival time, you may drink a total of 12 ounces of clear liquids (see Figure 1).
Examples of clear liquids include:
- Clear broth, bouillon, or consommé (no particles of dried food or seasonings)
- Gelatin, such as Jell-O®
- Clear fruit juices (no pulp), such as white cranberry, white grape, or apple
- Soda, such as 7-Up®, Sprite®, ginger ale, seltzer, or Gatorade®
- Coffee or tea, without milk or cream
- Take the medications you were instructed to take the morning of your procedure with a few sips of water.
- Do not put on any lotion, cream, powder, make-up, or perfume.
- Remove jewelry, including body piercings.
- Leave all valuables, such as credit cards and jewelry, at home.
- If you wear contacts wear your glasses instead.
- A list of the medications you take at home
- Your rescue inhaler (such as albuterol for asthma), if you have one
- A case for your glasses
- Your Health Care Proxy form if you have completed one
Your colonoscopy will take place at one of these locations:
- Memorial Hospital
1275 York Avenue (between East 67th and East 68th Streets)
New York, NY 10065
Take the M elevator to the 2nd floor and enter the Endoscopy Suite through the glass doors.
- MSK Monmouth
480 Red Hill Road
Middletown, NJ 07748
Once you arrive at the hospital, doctors, nurses, and other staff members will ask you to state and spell your name and date of birth many times. This is for your safety. Patients with the same or similar names may be having procedures on the same day.
After changing into a hospital gown, you will meet your nurse. He or she will place an intravenous (IV) catheter into a vein, usually in your hand or arm. At first you will receive fluids through the IV, but it will be used later to give you anesthesia (medication to make you sleepy). Your doctor will explain the procedure, and answer any questions you have.
When it’s time for your procedure, you will be brought into the procedure room and helped onto an exam table. You will be attached to equipment to monitor your heart, breathing, and blood pressure. You will also receive oxygen through your nose. A mouth guard will be placed over your teeth to protect them.
You will receive anesthesia through your IV, which will make you fall asleep. Once you are asleep, your doctor will pass the endoscope through your mouth, down your esophagus, into your stomach, and into your small intestine. Your doctor will take biopsies if necessary, then remove the endoscope.Back to top
After Your Procedure
You will wake up in the recovery room. Your nurse will continue to monitor your heart, breathing, and blood pressure. You may feel soreness in your throat, which should go away in a day or 2. Once you are fully awake, your nurse will remove your IV. If you have someone waiting with you, your nurse will explain your discharge instructions to both of you before you go home.
Do not drink alcoholic beverages for 24 hours after your procedure.Back to top
Call your doctor or nurse if you have:
- A temperature of 101° F (38.3° C) or higher
- Chest pain or shortness of breath
- Severe abdominal pain, hardness, or swelling
- Blood in vomit
- Weakness, faintness, or both
- Any other questions or concerns