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Dig Liver Dis. 2005 Jul;37(7):526-32. Epub 2005 Mar 29.

Is it possible to reduce endoscopy workload using age, alarm symptoms and H. pylori as predictors of peptic ulcer and oesophagogastric cancers?

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Department of Internal Medicine, Jyväskylä Central Hospital, Finland.



We examined referrals to oesophagogastroduodenoscopy and the impact of demographic and clinical variables to predict major findings (peptic ulcer, cancer) on oesophagogastroduodenoscopy.


We collected data on 3669 consecutive patients referred for oesophagogastroduodenoscopy.


Dyspeptic and reflux symptoms constituted 80% of oesophagogastroduodenoscopy referrals. A major finding was observed in 419 patients (11.4%). The mean age of cancer patients was 72.7 years (95% confidence interval (CI) 70.0-76.5 years) and that of peptic ulcer patients 62.0 years (95% CI 60.5-63.5 years). Independent risk factors for a major finding were age >50 years (odds ratio (OR) 1.62, 95% CI 1.24-2.10), male sex (OR 1.38, 95% CI 1.11-1.72), ulcer-type pain (OR 2.33, 95% CI 1.80-3.02), weight loss (OR 1.70, 95% CI 1.14-2.53), anaemia (OR 1.82, 95% CI 1.38-2.40), bleeding symptoms (OR 3.27, 95% CI 2.26-4.75) and Helicobacter pylori (OR 2.49, 95% CI 2.00-3.11), whereas reflux symptoms were protective (OR 0.73, 95% CI 0.53-1.00). The area under receiver operating characteristic curve of age over 50 years with alarm symptoms to predict major finding was 0.68 (95% CI 0.65-0.71), which positive H. pylori status increased to 0.71 (95% CI 0.69-0.74). Of the major findings, 87.2% were detected in patients with risk factors. Major findings were detected in 15.1% patients with and 8.1% (p < 0.001) without alarm symptoms.


Dyspeptic and reflux symptoms constitute the majority of oesophagogastroduodenoscopy workload. Discriminative power of alarm symptoms even with positive H. pylori status to detect peptic ulcer or cancer was low. Because of their low cancer risk, reflux and dyspeptic patients younger than 50 years can be treated without oesophagogastroduodenoscopy.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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