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Gastrointestinal Endoscopy

Welcome to the Rocky Mountain Regional VA Gastrointestinal Endoscopy lab. Our doctors, nurses and technicians are committed to providing high quality, state-of-the-art gastrointestinal endoscopy services for our Veterans, and we offer several resources here to help you understand and prepare for your upcoming procedure. If you have questions after reading about your procedure here, please don't hesitate to call us at the phone number listed.

COVID-19

Currently, all patients are required to have a COVID-19 screening test 72 hours prior to their scheduled procedure. COVID-19 testing is offered at the Rocky Mountain Regional VA every day of the week and at the PFC Floyd K. Lindstrom VA Clinic in Colorado Springs on Mondays through Fridays. If you do not have a COVID test 72 hours prior, your procedure will likely be canceled as we may not have your test results in time. Depending on where you live, other options may be available to you and you may contact us for information. For more details, download the GI Lab covid test informational flyer.

How to find the Gastrointestinal Endoscopy lab for your procedure

We are in the Rocky Mountain Regional VA Medical Center in Aurora, Colorado. After entering the building, take elevator 1 to the third floor. (Elevator 1 is located near the South entrance on N. Wheeling St.) Check in at the Mt. Harvard waiting area, third floor of Building D, Diagnostic & Treatment South.

Procedures we do and how to prepare for them

Colonoscopy

Having any medical procedure can be intimidating. To learn more about the procedure your health care provider has recommended for you, please click the procedure name in the list below.

Click on the "Getting ready" link to learn how to prepare for it. It's a good idea to read about the preparation for a procedure as soon as you learn you are going to have it. If you do not see your specific procedure on this list, or if you are having several procedures at one time, please call us at the number listed at the top of this page.

Your doctor will order one or two medications to empty your colon prior to your colonoscopy. Please select the link with the name of the medication(s) you received for the correct instructions.

Upper endoscopy (Esophagogastroduodenoscopy, or EGD)

Flexible sigmoidoscopy

Capsule endoscopy (Pillcam, or small bowel capsule)

24 hour pH study

Esophageal manometry

Anorectal manometry

Call us at 720-723-6166, or 888-336-8262, ext. 16166 for instructions.

Endoscopic ultrasound (EUS)

If you are having a rectal ultrasound, please read the instructions which were mailed to you or call us at 720-723-6166, or 888-336-8262, ext. 16166.

Endoscopic mucosal resection (EMR)

Please read the instructions which were mailed to you or call us at 720-723-6166, or 888-336-8262, ext. 16166.

Endoscopic submucosal dissection (ESD)

Please read the instructions which were mailed to you or call us at 720-723-6166, or 888-336-8262, ext. 16166.

Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP)

Per oral endoscopic myotomy (POEM)

Sometimes, our doctors “customize” procedure preparation for a patient. If your doctor does so, you will receive in the mail specific instructions or we will call you to discuss them. Please call us with any questions or concerns.

General information for the day of your procedure

Most of our procedures require that you not have anything to eat or drink after midnight on the day of the procedure, for your own safety. Please see your instructions for specific information.

We usually make an exception to the “no eating or drinking after midnight” rule for prescription medications. Most medications may be taken but you must do so at least FOUR HOURS BEFORE your procedure, with a few sips of water to swallow any pills, tablets or capsules. Please see your instructions for specific information as certain procedures require you stop certain types of medications.

Most blood thinning medications (anticoagulants such as warfarin or apixaban and antiplatelets such as clopidogrel or 325 mg sized aspirin) must be stopped several days prior to your procedure. If you have a provider or team that manages your blood thinning medications, such as a cardiologist, primary care provider, or an Anticoagulant Clinic, please reach out to them for specific information.

If you are managed by the Eastern Colorado Health Care System VA Anticoagulant Clinic and are taking any of the following medications, please call 720-723-6756 or 719-227-4131:

  • Warfarin (Coumadin®)
  • Apixaban (Eliquis®)
  • Dabigatran (Pradaxa®)
  • Edoxaban (Savaysa®)
  • Rivaroxaban (Xarelto®)
  • Dalteparin (Fragmin®)
  • Enoxaparin (Lovenox®)
  • Fondaparinux (Arixtra®)

Usually, the doses of diabetes medications must change during preparation for a colonoscopy. Diabetes medications are generally not taken the day of any procedure. Please see your instructions for specific information.

Check-in for your appointment 60 minutes beforehand.

Being sedated

Most (though not all) of our procedures are done with intravenous sedative medications. There are different types of sedation that might be used:

  • Moderate – You will feel very drowsy and may fall asleep during the procedure. You may or may not remember parts of the procedure.
  • Deep – You won’t be unconscious, but you’ll sleep through the procedure and will probably have little or no memory of it.

A few of our procedures are done under general anesthesia, depending upon the procedure and your overall health.

No matter the type of sedation, you are not permitted to leave by yourself after a sedated procedure. Driving after you’ve had sedatives is like driving under the influence of alcohol. If you are being sedated, you must have a responsible adult companion with you on the day of your procedure to take you home or it will be cancelled.

If you are having an unsedated procedure, you may come alone for it. The staff member who schedules you will tell you whether your procedure requires sedation. Please call us with any questions or concerns you might have about sedation.

Because of current COVID-19 precautions, your driver will not be allowed inside the facility and must have a phone so that we can call them when you're ready to leave.

Frequently asked questions

I lost my instructions; how do I get more?

You can get instructions from this website! Just click on the “Getting ready” link for your procedure above. We can also mail them again but need about a week to do so.

If you use secure messaging in MyHealtheVet, call us at 720-723-6166 and leave a voice mail asking us to send the instructions that way.

The instructions are also recorded and available for you to listen to on the phone, at 720-723-6166. (Please listen to the automated menu options to be connected to the right recording.)

What if instructions were never sent to me?

You can print or view the instructions on this page. Just click on the “Getting ready” link listed for your procedure.

If you use secure messaging in MyHealtheVet, call us at 720-723-6166 and leave a voice mail asking us to send the instructions that way.

The instructions are also recorded and available for you to listen to on the phone, at 720-723-6166. (Please listen to the automated menu options to be connected to the right recording.)

What if my driver cancels?

You will need a driver if you are to be sedated. We may have resources available to assist you with a ride but generally need two weeks to arrange for these. You will need to call and reschedule if a driver cannot be found.

Can someone come with me to the appointment?

Currently, someone may come with you and stay in the waiting room. If your driver is not able to be with you when you check in, we will need their phone number to confirm their availability and to call them after your procedure. Your driver can pick you up at our south entrance once you are discharged if they are not able to wait here.

Will I be awake for my procedure?

This depends on your procedure and the type of sedation you are to receive. Our goal is to keep you comfortable and still breathing! Under moderate sedation, most patients fall asleep and then wake up towards the end of the procedure. Please see “Being Sedated” for more information.

What time should I show up for my appointment?

We request that you show up and check in one hour before your procedure time.

Should I drink all the colon prep medication at one time?

We ask that you refer to the instructions for your specific prep medication, but most require you take one dose the night before your colonoscopy, and a second dose early in the morning on the day of your colonoscopy (“split dose”).

When should I stop eating solid foods?

This depends on your procedure and your prep. Please refer to the specific instructions.

What pills can I take the day of the procedure?

This depends on the medications. Routine medications such as blood pressure pills and heart medicines should be taken. Blood thinning and diabetes medications should not be taken unless you’ve been told otherwise by a health care provider. Please refer to your instructions.

How long will the procedure last?

The procedure time varies depending on the procedure, your anatomy, health history, and what the doctor finds. We need time to get you ready for the procedure, and for you to wake up afterwards if you’ve been sedated. Most colonoscopies take anywhere from 15-45 minutes, and most upper endoscopies take between 5-15 minutes. Of course, there are many factors that could cause a procedure to take longer. It is best to prepare to be at the hospital for 3-4 hours.

We make every effort to be on time for you! However, it’s difficult to know exactly how long any procedure will take, and our providers are very thorough and careful with each Veteran to make sure all their needs are taken care of. We ask for your patience if we do run late and cannot start your procedure exactly on time.