Gastroscopy : Its Value and Indications

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Gastroscopy with the flexible gastroscope is a universally accepted diagnostic procedure and the indications for its use are well established. Opinions of leading gastro-enterologists throughout the world are in accord regarding the value of the procedure. Two well-known gastro-enterologists who have not been actively engaged in gastroscopy but who have watched its development are W. L. Palmer of the University of Chicago and Eusterman of the Mayo Clinic. Palmer1 has said, “I am hopeful that the new method may be accorded the warm reception it so richly deserves by the conservative members of the profession and that it may be spared the fate of most new methods—overenthusiasm and exploitation by the more radical supporters. But this is too much to expect. I am confident, however, that gastroscopy will withstand the criticism of its adversaries, if there be any, and the exaggeration of its friends. It does not rival the x-ray examination; it is supplementary. The two methods have made the clinical study of gastric disease a definite objective science.”

As Palmer correctly prophesized, there has been exploitation by radical supporters, criticism by adversaries, and exaggeration by friends, but gastroscopy has withstood all these, as is evidenced by Eusterman's statement in his introduction to the section of gastro-intestinal disease in the Yearbook of General Medicine for 1938. He states, “accumulating experience also attests the indispensability of competent gastroscopic examination in daily gastro-enterologic practice.”

The criticisms which have been made of gastroscopy have been of two types. One has come from. . .



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