Endoscopic Ultrasound (EUS) in Arizona
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What is an endoscopic ultrasound (EUS)?
The endoscopic ultrasound (EUS) is an endoscopic procedure where a flexible tube with a camera on the end (scope) is fed through either the mouth or the rectum and used to look inside the intestines. The scope is equipped with a light that allows your provider to examine the lining of the esophagus, stomach, small intestines, or the rectum. The EUS can be used to visually inspect the intestines like an endoscopic, and additionally the EUS scope carries an ultrasound probe which enables the physician to inspect the gastrointestinal tract with ultrasound waves. Ultrasound waves allow the provider to see the different layers of the intestinal wall and other organs in the body. The EUS can be done to inspect abnormalities in the wall of the intestines or other organs such as the pancreas, biliary system, and chest. Often, the EUS is used to assist in staging cancer. If you have been suffering troubling symptoms related to your GI tract, the EUS could help your physician identify and begin treatment on your condition. For more information about this and other endoscopic procedures in Phoenix, AZ, contact Arizona Digestive Health.
Why would I need an EUS?
A few of the different reasons a physician might order an endoscopic ultrasound in Phoenix, AZ include:
- To evaluate the stage of cancer
- To assess Barrett's esophagus
- To study nodules in the intestines
- To evaluate sarcoidosis
- To study muscles in the lower rectum for discerning the cause of fecal incontinence
- To study tumors in the gallbladder or live
- To evaluate disorders of the pancreas
- To assess the bile ducts
If you have a condition that calls for EUS, please contact your providers at Arizona Digestive Health.
What should I expect the day before my endoscopic ultrasound?
Prior to EUS, you will get instructions from your provider regarding how you need to prepare. Patients are typically advised not to take anything by mouth after midnight before their exam except for medications. It is important for you to follow these instructions. There could be additional instructions given to you regarding your medications. In many instances, your medications may be continued as normal. In the cases of certain medications like blood thinners (i.e., coumadin, warfarin, plavix, aspirin, anti-inflammatories) and in diabetics, special instructions might be in order.
What happens on the day of my endoscopic ultrasound?
Please arrive at the endoscopy center 1 to 1.5 hours before your exam to allow time to fill out paperwork and prepare. You will be given a medical gown to change into and an intravenous (IV) catheter will be started in your arm to administer sedation. You will then be hooked up to equipment that will allow your provider and their team to closely monitor your heart rate, blood pressure, pulse, electrocardiogram, breathing, and oxygen level during and after the exam.
When you are taken to the exam room, you will be instructed to lie on your left side. Small amounts of sedation will be administered to ensure you do not have an adverse reaction to the medication and to ensure you are given only the amount you need personally. When you are adequately sedated, the endoscope will be gently inserted into the mouth and advanced through the esophagus, stomach, and first portion of the small intestine or duodenum. A small portion of air is pumped through the scope to assist the physician in seeing your GI tract. Fluid still inside the GI tract is suctioned out through the scope. During the procedure, a few different things can be done such as biopsies, removal of polyps, and control of bleeding. When the procedure is over, the air and remaining fluid will be suctioned out through the scope. The exam can take about 30-60 minutes.
Once the exam is over, you will be taken to the recovery room as the sedation wears off. How quickly you wake up will depend on how much sedation was used and your personal response to the medication. Most patients are awake enough for discharge in 45-60 minutes. You should not drive after sedation, so please arrange a ride home. You also should not work, sign important papers, or perform strenuous activities for the rest of the day. Most patients can return to their regular diet after discharge, but there will be instructions on activity, eating, and medications given to you prior to your discharge.
Your provider will go over any findings from the EUS with you. Because of the sedation, you may not remember this conversation, so it is recommended you bring someone with you who can also discuss the results of the exam. You will also have a typed report to take home and be informed of biopsy results within one week.
What are the risks of an endoscopic ultrasound?
Typically speaking, endoscopic ultrasound (EUS) is usually a very safe exam. Complications occur in less than 1% of patients and the majority of complications are not life-threatening. However, should a complication occur, it may require hospitalization and surgery. Before your exam, you will need to sign a consent form that the nursing staff will review with you. If you have any questions or concerns, you can discuss them with your provider before the procedure.
Common complications include reactions to the sedation like allergic reactions, difficulty breathing, adverse effects on the heart and blood pressure, and irritation of the vein used to give the medication.
Fine-needle aspiration and biopsies can incur bleeding. Significant bleeding that may require transfusion is uncommon.
It is possible there may be a puncture or perforation of the esophagus, stomach, small intestine, or rectum. Should this occur, it may be recognized at the time of the exam or may not be apparent until later in the day. Should this occur, it will require surgery and hospitalization. This complication is extremely uncommon even when biopsies or a fine-needle aspiration are performed.
Should you experience any symptoms such as worsening abdominal pain, bleeding, or fever after the procedure, contact your doctor's office immediately.
As with any other exam, EUS is not perfect. There is a small risk of abnormalities going undetected during the exam. Please continue to follow-up with your providers at Arizona Digestive Health and inform them of any new or persistent symptoms.
What are alternatives to an endoscopic ultrasound (EUS)?
Alternatives to the EUS depend on why the exam needs to be performed. In some cases, EUS is the best method to evaluate and treat abnormalities. X-rays such as a CT scan, MRI, and transabdominal ultrasound can investigate the GI tract as well. These are only diagnostic exams and would not be able to perform all the tasks an EUS can. If you would like to know more about your options for diagnosing your GI tract issue in Phoenix, AZ, then please speak to your providers at Arizona Digestive Health.
Advanced endoscopic ultrasounds
Endoscopic ultrasound is a great tool to evaluate and diagnose different diseases and conditions of the GI tract. As a partner of the nation's largest physician-led network gastroenterologists, Arizona Digestive Health strives to use cutting-edge technology and techniques to aid in the treatment of GI conditions. If you or a loved one needs EUS in Phoenix, AZ, then please contact our location to request a consultation with a GI specialist.
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