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Am J Gastroenterol. 2007 Dec;102(12):2680-5. Epub 2007 Aug 21.

The impact of colon cleanliness assessment on endoscopists' recommendations for follow-up colonoscopy.

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Department of Gastroenterology, Sheba Medical Center, and Sackler School of Medicine, Tel-Aviv University, Tel-Hashomer, Israel.



Repeat colonoscopy is advocated for low-quality preparations. However, there are few data on how endoscopists assess the quality of bowel preparation. We aimed to investigate, in a visually reproducible manner, endoscopists' assessment of colon cleanliness, as reflected by their subsequent recommendations for follow-up.


Gastroenterologists attending the Israeli Gastroenterology Association meeting were presented with photographs depicting varying degrees of colon cleanliness at a hypothetical screening colonoscopy. Endoscopists were requested to denote their recommendation for the timing of a follow-up procedure for each of the different preparations, both when no polyps were detected and when two small adenomas were found.


Seventy-eight gastroenterologists were included. There was considerable interobserver variability in endoscopists' assessment of preparation adequacy, and recommended follow-up timing ranged from more than 5 yr to immediate repeat colonoscopy for identical preparations. Interestingly, even when repeat colonoscopy was not considered necessary, most endoscopists recommended progressively shorter follow-up intervals in line with reduced preparation quality (mean interval dropping from 9.2+/-1.7 to 6.3+/-2.8 to 2.5+/-2 yr, P<0.001 for trend). Similar findings were observed when two adenomas were hypothetically found on the index procedure, although follow-up intervals were shorter. No correlation was found between endoscopists' clinical experience or acquaintance with clinical guidelines and their actual recommendation.


Clinical decisions derived from colon cleanliness assessment vary considerably among endoscopists, and there is little agreement on what constitutes a disqualifying preparation. Moreover, when confronted with an intermediate-quality preparation, most gastroenterologists recommend a shorter follow-up interval, rather than repeating the procedure. Further studies are required to validate this management approach and to standardize the assessment of preparation quality.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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