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Gastrointest Endosc. 2005 Jan;61(1):72-5.

A prospective study of factors that determine cecal intubation time at colonoscopy.

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  • 1Division of Gastroenterology, Department of Medicine, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC 27710, USA.



For outpatient colonoscopy, the time required to intubate the cecum is variable. The aim of this study was to determine factors associated with cecal intubation time.


A total of 693 consecutive outpatient colonoscopies performed from January to October 2002 at a tertiary care medical center were studied prospectively. Data gathered included time required to reach the cecum; patient age, gender, and body mass index; history of abdominal surgery; quality of bowel preparation; presence/absence of diverticula; and endoscopist experience.


Complete data were available for 587 patients. Mean age was 59 years, 48% were men, and mean body mass index was 28. Median cecal intubation time was 9 minutes. Linear regression analysis was performed. Cecal intubation time is prolonged by the following factors: older patient age, female gender, lower body mass index, poor bowel preparation, and lower endoscopist annual case volume.


This large, prospective study identified 5 factors that prolong the time required for cecal intubation at colonoscopy. These factors may be used to individualize scheduling of colonoscopy according to the time required.

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