An endoscopy is usually a safe procedure, and the risk of serious complications is very low.

Possible complications include:

  • an infection in a part of the body the endoscope is used to examine this may require treatment with antibiotics
  • piercing or tearing (perforation) of an organ, or excessive bleeding you may need surgery to repair tissue or organ damage; sometimes a blood transfusion may also be needed


Sedation is usually safe, but it can occasionally cause complications, including:

  • feeling or being sick
  • a burning sensation at the site of the injection
  • saliva or, rarely, small particles of food falling into the lungs, triggering an infection (aspiration pneumonia)
  • irregular heartbeat or low blood pressure
  • breathing difficulties

When to seek medical help

Contact your GP if you notice any signs of infection in the area where the endoscope was inserted.

Signs of infection include:

  • redness, pain or swelling
  • a discharge of fluids or pus
  • a high temperature (fever) of 38C (100.4F) or above

Other signs of apossible complication after having an endoscopy include:

  • black or very dark-coloured stools
  • shortness of breath
  • severe and persistent abdominal pain
  • vomiting blood
  • chest pain

Contact your GP or visit your nearest accident and emergency (A&E) department immediately if you notice any of these signs and symptoms.

Content supplied by the NHS Website

Medically Reviewed by a doctor on 21 Dec 2018