Conference Coverage

High-quality index colonoscopies pay off down the road for low-risk patients


AT ACG 2022

CHARLOTTE, N.C.– Performing high-quality index colonoscopies may pay off later in your patients’ reduced risk for advanced neoplasia, investigators report.

A study of registry data on more than 2,200 patients who had an index colonoscopy showing no evidence of neoplasia found that, on repeat colonoscopy 10 years later, the absolute risk for advanced neoplasia outcomes was lower for those with a high-quality index exam, compared with those who had a lesser-quality index colonoscopy.

Joseph Anderson, MD, from the Dartmouth Geisel School of Medicine in Hanover, New Hampshire. Neil Osterweil/MDedge News

Dr. Joseph Anderson

The adjusted odds ratio for patients who underwent high-quality index exams was 0.59%, reported Joseph Anderson, MD, from the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth, Hanover, N.H.

“These data demonstrate that high-quality index colonoscopy provides better protection from interval lesions than low-quality exams with no polyps detected at that index exam,” he said in an oral abstract presentation at the annual meeting of the American College of Gastroenterology.

“These data support the importance of high-quality index exams in the prevention of interval colorectal cancer, and support the 10-year interval for normal exams,” Dr. Anderson added.

He recommended that endoscopists focus on the quality of their exams by using adequate scope withdrawal time – 8-10 minutes – to ensure optimal adenoma detection, and by ensuring the use of optimal bowel preparation in their practices.

Registry study

Dr. Anderson and colleagues studied how the quality of index colonoscopies could affect the risk of advanced outcomes in low-risk patients at the 10-year or later follow-up. They used records from the New Hampshire Colonoscopy Registry, which includes data from 2004 to the present on more than 250,000 exams performed by more than 150 endoscopists in more than 30 Granite State practices.

The investigators also looked at data on patients with less than 5 years of follow-up, and those with follow-up from 5 to less than 10 years.

The study sample included patients with no adenoma or significant serrated polyps on their index exams who had at least one follow-up exam 12 months or more after the index exams. Patients with inflammatory bowel disease or familial colon cancer syndromes were excluded.

They defined a high-quality colonoscopy as an exam complete to cecum, with adequate bowel preparation, and performed by an endoscopist with an adenoma detection rate of 25 or higher.

The adenoma detection rate is calculated as the number of screening colonoscopies with at least one adenoma divided by the total number of screening colonoscopies.

The definition of advanced outcomes included advanced adenomas, colorectal cancer, and/or large serrated polyps (1 cm or greater).

Of the 14,011 patients in the sample, 2,283 had a follow-up exam at 10 years. The absolute risk for advanced outcomes among patients who had a high quality index exam was 4.0% vs. 6.7% for those with lower quality exams.

Among patients with low-quality index exams – but not patients with high quality exams – there was a statistically significant increase in the absolute risk for advanced outcomes at all time periods, from 5.1% in the less than 5-year follow-up group, to 6.7% in the 10-years or more follow-up group.

Patients with initial high-quality exams also had a lower risk for postcolonoscopy colorectal cancer, compared with patients who had low-quality index exams: 0.4% vs. 0.8%. This difference translated into an adjusted hazard ratio for colorectal cancer after a high-quality exam of 0.53.

It’s getting better all the time

In an interview, Daniel J. Pambianco, MD, FACG from Charlottesville (Va.) Gastroenterology Associates, who was not involved in the study, commented that Dr. Anderson and colleagues highlighted the importance of the quality of the bowel prep and the quality of the examination itself.

He noted that the use of devices such as colonoscopy caps can help further improve adenoma detection rates and pointed to up-and-coming developments such as the use of artificial intelligence algorithms to aid human endoscopists.

Dr. Pambianco comoderated the session where the data were presented.

The investigators did not report a study funding source. Dr. Anderson and Dr. Pambianco reported having no relevant financial disclosures.

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