The ASGE guidelines for the appropriate use of colonoscopy in an open access system

G Minoli, G Meucci, A Bortoli, A Garripoli, R Gullotta, P Leo, A Pera, A Prada, F Rocca, A Zambelli
Gastrointestinal Endoscopy 2000, 52 (1): 39-44

BACKGROUND: Appropriateness of indications is essential to the rational utilization of resources. The aim of this study was to evaluate the appropriate use of colonoscopy in an open access system and to assess whether the American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy (ASGE) guidelines are useful in clinical practice.

METHODS: The indication for colonoscopy was assessed on 3000 consecutive examinations performed at 7 institutions.

RESULTS: The rate of colonoscopies "generally not indicated" according to the ASGE guidelines was 24.5% for outpatients and 15.5% for inpatients; the rates of examinations performed for an indication not listed in the ASGE guidelines were 12% and 20.1%, respectively. Generally not indicated colonoscopies were significantly less frequent for procedures requested by gastroenterologists or family physicians than those requested by other specialists, but were similar. Most generally not indicated examinations requested by gastroenterologists were for routine follow-up of patients with inflammatory bowel disease; when these patients were excluded, the rate of generally not indicated endoscopies requested by gastroenterologists was also lower than the corresponding rate for examinations requested by family physicians.

CONCLUSIONS: In Italy, the rate of colonoscopies performed for generally not indicated reasons is high, particularly among examinations not requested by a gastroenterologist. Many colonoscopies are performed for indications not listed in the ASGE guidelines.

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