Send to:

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Intern Med J. 2003 Aug;33(8):355-9.

Complication rates of colonoscopy in an Australian teaching hospital environment.

Author information

  • 1Diagnostic Unit, Fremantle Hospital, Fremantle, Western Australia, Australia.



Quality assurance is an important part of health-care delivery. With the high level of awareness relating to adverse events from medical care, demonstration of a high standard of practice in gastroenterology is desirable.


To determine the incidence of significant complications or death within 30 days of an outpatient colonoscopy, and confirm that these are in keeping with international standards.


A retrospective audit of linked endoscopy and other hospital databases and selected medical records was carried out, based on reports of 30,463 colonoscopies performed between 5 September 1989 and 31 December 1999 in the three Western Australian public teaching hospitals.


A total of 23,508 colonoscopies was performed on an outpatient basis between 5 September 1989 and 31 December 1999. Post-procedural complications identified (and incidence) were: bleeding episodes 49 (0.21%), colonic perforation 23 (0.1%), abdominal pain 22 (0.09%), and others 19 (0.08%). A total of 196 patients died within 30 days of undergoing colonoscopy (0.83%), although only three deaths were attributable to the procedure itself (incidence 0.01%). Two were inpatients at the time of the procedure (outpatient mortality rate 0.004%). The combined incidence of bleeding and perforation was not significantly different between consultant endoscopists and unassisted trainees (incidence 0.21% vs 0.20%, P=0.98).


The incidence of bleeding and perforation is similar to other reported series and reflects procedures performed by personnel with a wide range of endoscopic experience. The incidence of complications was not greater for trainees compared with consultant endoscopists. All bleeding episodes and the majority of perforations were associated with a therapeutic intervention. Diagnostic colonoscopy in particular is a very safe procedure.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Wiley
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk