Dr Jonathan Watson and colleagues conducted an audit of 100 consecutive patients undergoing gastroscopies, of which 55 chose to be sedated and 45 unsedated.
The patient, endoscopist, and endoscopy nurse assessed patient comfort during the test.
There was no significant difference in patient ratings of pain and comfort between the sedated and unsedated groups.
Evaluation by the attending endoscopist and nurse also showed no difference in patient comfort between the two groups.
|Equivalent pain ratings for sedated and unsedated gastroscopy.|
|Journal of Quality in Clinical Practice|
However, for both unsedated and sedated groups, patient ratings of comfort were consistently lower than the assessment by the endoscopist and endoscopy nurse.
Of the patients, 88% said they would have a subsequent test performed in the same way.
The researchers comment that unsedated diagnostic gastroscopy provides clear benefits. It both avoids the risk of an anaesthetic, and enables the patient to speak to the endoscopist immediately after the procedure.
Dr Watson emphasizes the advantages of the unsedated procedure in converting the test to an ambulatory care investigation.