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AJR Am J Roentgenol. 2011 May;196(5):1076-82. doi: 10.2214/AJR.10.4334.

National CT colonography trial (ACRIN 6664): comparison of three full-laxative bowel preparations in more than 2500 average-risk patients.

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Department of Diagnostic Radiology, Mayo Clinic Scottsdale, AZ 85259, USA.



The purpose of our study was to compare the effect of three different full-laxative bowel preparations on patient compliance, residual stool and fluid, reader confidence, and polyp detection at CT colonography (CTC).


A total of 2531 patients underwent CTC followed by colonoscopy for the American College of Radiology Imaging Network (ACRIN) National CTC Trial. Of this total, 2525 patients used one of three bowel preparations with bisacodyl tablets and stool and fluid tagging: 4 L of polyethylene glycol (PEG); 90 mL of phosphosoda; or 300 mL of magnesium citrate. Patients reported percent compliance with the bowel preparation and radiologists graded each CTC examination for the amount of residual fluid and stool on a scale from 1 (none) to 4 (nondiagnostic). Reader confidence for true-positive findings was reported on a 5-point scale: 1 (low) to 5 (high). Sensitivity and specificity for detecting polyps ≥ 6 mm and ≥ 1 cm compared with colonoscopy were calculated for each preparation.


The most commonly prescribed preparation was phosphosoda (n = 1403) followed by PEG (n = 1020) and magnesium citrate (n = 102). Phosphosoda had the highest patient compliance (p = 0.01), least residual stool (p < 0.001), and highest reader confidence versus PEG for examinations with polyps (p = 0.06). Magnesium citrate had significantly more residual fluid compared with PEG and phosphosoda (p = 0.006). The sensitivity and specificity for detecting colon polyps ≥ 6 mm and ≥ 1 cm did not differ significantly between preparations.


Polyp detection was comparable for all three preparations, although phosphosoda had significantly higher patient compliance and the least residual stool.

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