EndoFLIP is a technology that simultaneously measures the area across the inside of a gastrointestinal organ (for example, the esophagus) and the pressure inside that organ. The ratio of the two measurements is called distensibility (stiffness).
How is EndoFLIP performed?
During upper endoscopy, while you are sedated, your doctor will place a catheter through your mouth into your esophagus. Fluid is passed through the catheter to inflate a cylinder-shaped balloon that contains specialized sensors. From the patient’s perspective, undergoing a diagnostic EndoFLIP is exactly similar to the experience of undergoing upper endoscopy. The procedure can add 10 to 15 minutes to the total duration of the endoscopy.
Who needs EndoFLIP?
EndoFLIP can help find the cause of difficulty swallowing; for example, in patients with suspected achalasia, or in patients who have difficulty swallowing after surgery for gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). EndoFLIP can also be used to perform a therapeutic dilation, without the need for X-rays.
What are the potential complications of EndoFLIP?
When EndoFLIP is used for diagnostic purposes, in theory, there is a risk of bleeding or perforation (putting a hole in the wall of the gut), but the catheter is connected to a computer that drives the inflation and deflation of the balloon, thus limiting the size and pressure of the inflation. There are no known reports of serious complications when EndoFLIP has been used for diagnostic purposes.
When EndoFLIP is used to perform a therapeutic dilation, there is a small risk of bleeding or perforation.
What do I need to do before EndoFLIP?
Preparation for EndoFLIP is similar to preparation for upper endoscopy. You will have fasting instructions for the day of the procedure. Your doctor may ask you to consume a liquid diet for 24 hours before the procedure, based on your underlying medical condition. You must have a licensed driver who is 18 years or older accompany you to your appointment and drive you home, as the sedatives or anesthesia will make you drowsy.
What happens after EndoFLIP?
After the EndoFLIP procedure, you will be taken to a recovery room where your driver can join you. The doctor who performed the procedure will explain the preliminary results to you. You will receive detailed recommendations for diet, medicines, and follow-up. The results of the procedure will be communicated to your referring physician(s).