Patient Information

General anaesthetic for endoscopy


General anaesthesia is when you are given medication that puts you into a deep sleep. You are unconscious and feel nothing.

A general anaesthetic has a higher risk of complications than other forms of medication. The anaesthetist will explain these risks when you meet them on the day of the procedure.

Most people do not need a general anaesthetic for an endoscopy. If you do, you may need to wait longer for your procedure.

Pre-operative assessment beforehand

You will have an appointment to see the Pre-operative Assessment Team before your endoscopy. This is to check you are suitable to have a general anaesthetic.

At this appointment, you will have your blood pressure and pulse checked. You may also have, for example, blood tests or heart tests.

You will also be asked, for example:

  • what medications you take
  • whether you have any allergies
  • if you have ever had a reaction to an anaesthetic before.

If you have not had an appointment with the Pre-operative Assessment Team beforehand, ring the Endoscopy Team at least 10 days before the procedure.

Follow this link for more information about pre-operative assessment. But remember that, before an endoscopy, you cannot go to a walk-in pre-operative assessment clinic. You did need to book an appointment in advance.

Pre-operative assessment

Having the anaesthetic

The anaesthetist is the doctor responsible for putting you to sleep. They will talk to you beforehand and ask you some questions.

Drugs for a general anaesthetic are usually given into a vein or breathed in as a gas, or a combination of both. You may have a breathing tube in your throat but this will only be while you are asleep.

Anaesthetics can affect breathing, heart rate and blood pressure. These will be monitored the whole time. Any problems are usually short-lived and easily managed by the staff.


Once the procedure is over, the anaesthetics team will wake you up and move you to the recovery area. They will continue to monitor you closely.

Once you are more awake, you will be transferred to the ward area to recover. You will be there for approximately another 60 minutes (1 hour).

Going home

You must arrange for a responsible adult to take you home in a car or taxi. You will not be allowed to travel home alone or by public transport.

Your escort must be ready to collect you as soon as we contact them. They should be close to the hospital whilst you are having your procedure, or within 30 minutes travel time. Tell them beforehand that you should be collected from the Day Surgery Unit (DSU).

The nurses can help you contact your escort as soon as you are back in the ward area.

First 24 hours

Clock showing 24 hours
  • A responsible adult should stay with you for at least 24 hours unless your healthcare team tells you otherwise.
  • You should be near a telephone in case of an emergency.
  • Do not drive, operate machinery or do any potentially dangerous activities (this includes cooking or using a kettle) for at least 24 hours and not until you have fully recovered feeling, movement and co-ordination.
  • Do not sign legal documents or drink alcohol for at least 24 hours.
  • During this time, should not go back to work or look after small children. 


Endoscopy nurses helpline 020 8934 6614 (2pm to 4pm only)

Translate Please speak to a member of staff before or during your visit to the hospital if you require translation.
Accessibility Please contact the Patient Experience Team on 020 8934 3850 if you need this information in a different format.
For information accessibility please visit Kingston Hospital AccessAble www.accessable.co.uk/kingston-hospital-nhs-foundation-trust
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Please speak to a member of staff before or during your visit to the hospital if you require translation support to access Patient Information. Please ring the phone number on your appointment letter, if you have one.

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Please contact the Patient Experience Team on 020 893 3850 if you need this information in a different format.
For detailed information on accessibility at Kingston Hospital visit Kingston Hospital AccessAble (https://www.accessable.co.uk/kingston-hospital-nhs-foundation-trust).

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