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Am J Gastroenterol. 2002 Jul;97(7):1722-5.

Colonoscopy in octogenarians: a prospective outpatient study.

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  • 1Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Mayo Clinic, Jacksonville, Florida 32224, USA.



The number of octogenarians (age > or =80 yr) referred for colonoscopy is increasing. Reported success rates regarding colonoscopy completion and adequacy of colonic preparation are poor overall in this group. This may be the result of age-related differences or biases due to retrospective data. The aims of this study were to prospectively determine differences between octogenarians and nonoctogenarians in adequacy of colonic preparation, success in completing colonoscopy, and complications of conscious sedation.


Prospective cohort study of 250 consecutive outpatients (150 nonoctogenarians and 100 octogenarians) referred for colonoscopy. Colonic preparation tolerance was assessed before colonoscopy, and the success rate and preparation were evaluated after the procedure. Conscious sedation complications were compared.


In octogenarians and nonoctogenarians preparation tolerance (86% and 90%, respectively) was similar. Endoscopic success rate was slightly lower in octogenarians (90% vs 99%, p = 0.002). Preparation was poor in 16% of octogenarians compared with 4% of nonoctogenarians (p = 0.001). This was independent of the type of preparation used. Oxygen desaturation was more common in octogenarians (27% vs 19%, p = 0.0007) and associated with a higher meperidine dose (1.05 vs 0.75 mg/kg). No adverse outcomes occurred in either study group.


Colonic preparations were well tolerated and colonoscopic success rates were high in octogenarians and nonoctogenarians. However, poor colonic preparation was four times as likely in octogenarians and was the most important impediment to adequate colonoscopy.

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