Researchers from the USA evaluated the procedural success and safety of large-scale screening colonoscopy.
Asymptomatic subjects, aged 50 to 75 years, who had not undergone examination of the colon within 10 years, were recruited from 13 Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Centers.
Some 3196 eligible patients underwent colonoscopy by study coinvestigators, at which time all polyps were measured, photographed, and removed.
Patients were contacted at 24 hours and 1 week to track procedure-related complications.
A "good" preparation was reported in 81% of patients, and colonoscopy to the cecum was successful in 97% of cases.
Mean insertion time to the cecum and total procedure times were 11 and 31 minutes, respectively.
No preprocedural patient characteristics were identified that were predictive of an incomplete procedure.
| Major morbidity related to colonoscopy occurred in 0.3% of cases.
| Gastrointestinal Endoscopy |
The researchers resected at least one polyp in 1672 patients.
There was no perforation and no death attributed to colonoscopy.
The team found that major morbidity, considered to be definitely related to colonoscopy, occurred in 9 of 3196 procedures (0.3%). The mobidities were lower GI bleeding requiring intervention (6), myocardial infarction and/or cerebrovascular accident (2), and thrombophlebitis (1).
In subjects undergoing only diagnostic procedures, the major complication rate was 0.1%.
Dr Douglas B. Nelson, of the Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Minneapolis, Minnesota, concluded on behalf of his colleagues, "Screening colonoscopy can be performed in multiple centers with a high degree of success and safety in large numbers of asymptomatic, average-risk men."