What is an EUS?

An EUS is a medical procedure during which an endoscope (a long, thin flexible tube with a video camera at the end) is passed through the mouth and into the stomach. A miniature ultrasound probe in the scope allows your doctor to examine the deeper layers of the stomach wall as well as surrounding organs including the liver, pancreas and gallbladder. An EUS is performed in a hospital or specialist day centre.

Why is an EUS done?

An EUS is usually done to gather further information about the pancreas, liver and bile ducts that can’t be obtained by other methods (CT/MRI etc). Because the ultrasound probe is within the body it provides high quality pictures which can assist with diagnosing a variety of conditions. EUS is also used to obtain tissue samples.

How do I prepare for an EUS?

It is important for the safety and accuracy of the procedure that your stomach is completely empty. You should therefore have nothing to eat or drink for 6 hours prior to your EUS.

Whilst most medications can be taken as usual with a sip of water on the day of your procedure, some medications need to be stopped, or have their dose altered.

You should notify your Gastroenterologist at least 7 days prior to your procedure if you are taking:

  • Blood thinners (plavix, warfarin, pradaxa etc) or
  • Diabetes medications (metformin, insulin etc)

Please bring your referral, a full list of your medications and your medicare card on the day of your procedure.

What will happen on the day?

After registering at reception, you will be seen briefly by your Gastroenterologist and your anaesthetist who will discuss your medical history and the procedure. Immediately before the EUS your throat will be sprayed with a local anaesthetic, and a small plastic mouthguard will be placed between your teeth to stop you biting the endoscope. You will then be given a light anaesthetic (sedative). While this is not a full anaesthetic, most patients are very comfortable during the procedure and don’t remember anything afterwards. Once sedated and lying in a comfortable position on your left side the endoscope is passed through your mouth and into your stomach. The procedure using lasts for between 15 and 20 mins.

What happens after my EUS?

Following the procedure you will be monitored in the recovery area until most of the sedative medication has worn off. You will then be offered something to eat and drink. Because of the sedative medication, it is essential that you have a friend or relative take you home and stay with you for several hours. It is strongly recommended that you do not drive, operate machinery or sign legal documents on the same day after the test.

Are there any risks or side-effects?

Overall an EUS is a very safe procedure that most patients tolerate extremely well. The most common side effects include mild throat soreness, and abdominal discomfort related to retained air in the stomach. More serious but rare complications can occur and include bleeding, or a tear in the lining of the stomach (perforation). If this happens you will be admitted to hospital for an operation to repair it. If samples are taken during the procedure there is also a very small risk of infection and pancreatitis (inflaming the pancreas).

Please contact your Gastroenterologist or your nearest emergency department if you experience any of the following symptoms in after your EUS:

  • Increasing chest or abdominal pain
  • Fevers
  • Trouble swallowing
  • Other symptoms that cause you concern.

Your Gastroenterologist will discuss having an EUS with you in detail on the day of your procedure, however if you have any questions or concerns please don’t hesitate to contact us.