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J Interv Gastroenterol. 2012 Oct;2(4):177-182. Epub 2012 Oct 1.

Effectiveness of a simplified "patient friendly" split dose polyethylene glycol colonoscopy prep in Veterans Health Administration patients.

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Division of Medicine, VA San Diego Healthcare System and University of California, San Diego, San Diego, CA, USA.



Adequate colon cleansing is an important factor in performing quality colonoscopy. Split dose Polyethylene Glycol (PEG) solutions have been shown to improve colon cleansing, but the effectiveness in a large clinical practice of elderly co-morbid patients has not been demonstrated. The aim of this study was to assess the efficacy of a simplified split PEG bowel prep in Veterans Health Administration (VHA) patients.


Prospective pre-post study design of VHA patients undergoing routine colonoscopy. Bowel prep quality was assessed using a standardized semi-quantitative 5-point scale. "Standard" 4L PEG prep was consumed once the evening before the procedure. "Split" prep was consumed half in the early evening and half in the late evening or early morning depending on procedure time.


Right colon preps were Excellent/Good in 81.4% of split preps (n=199) vs. 63% of standard preps (n=447, p<0.001). Left colon preps were Excellent/Good in 85.9% of split preps vs. 71.6% of standard preps (p<0.001). Diabetics (n=133) had significantly more right colon preps rated fair or worse compared to non-diabetics irrespective of prep (39.9% vs. 29.0%, p=0.02). Split prep in diabetics resulted in fewer right colon preps rated fair or worse compared to diabetics using standard prep (28.3% vs. 45.9%, p=0.049). Average adenomas detected per colonoscopy were 1.04 for split prep vs. 0.85 for standard prep (p=NS). Patient satisfaction was higher for split preps.


System-wide implementation of a split PEG prep resulted in significantly improved bowel cleansing in VHA patients, particularly in the right colon. Improved bowel cleansing with split preps was associated with higher patient satisfaction.


colonoscopy; colorectal cancer screening; colorectal neoplasm; polyethylene glycol; quality improvement

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