2016-01-26 16:15:48 UTC

Colonoscopy Risk Increases With Anesthesia

Jan. 26, 2016

Gastro research recommends that widespread adoption of anesthesia services with colonoscopy be considered within the context of all potential risks.

A new study published as an epub ahead of print in Gastroenterology sheds light on the role of anesthesia in colonoscopy. The prospective cohort study identified that, nationwide, 34.4 percent of colonoscopies among insured adults aged 40 to 64 years were conducted with anesthesia services. Rates of use varied significantly with region (53 percent in the Northeast versus 8 percent in the West).

The researcher team, led by Karen J. Wernli, PhD, from the Group Health Research Institute, Seattle, and University of Washington, Department of Health Services, found that the use of anesthesia service was associated with a 13 percent increase in risk of any complication within 30 days after the procedure, compared to patients who received standard sedation. Anesthesia services were specifically associated with an increased risk of: 

  • Perforation
  • Hemorrhage
  • Abdominal pain
  • Complications secondary to anesthesia
  • Stroke

Importantly, the risk varied by region. The researchers found that the increase in risk was greatest for patients in regions with a low prevalence of use of anesthesia services, even after adjusting for patient and procedure characteristics.

The researchers conclude by emphasizing that colonoscopy is not without its own inherent risks, so the widespread adoption of anesthesia services with colonoscopy should be considered in the context of all potential risks.

Review the full Gastroenterology article (login required).

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