Aim: To test the appropriateness of referrals for upper gastrointestinal endoscopy in Campania, Italy, using the criteria of the Maastricht Consensus.
Patients: Patients undergoing endoscopy during a 1-week period in 21 Endoscopy Services were considered prospectively. The reasons for endoscopy were dyspeptic symptoms, history of peptic ulcer and assessment after treatment. The age, sex, symptoms, history of peptic ulcer (previous endoscopic or radiographic examinations and treatment), endoscopic diagnosis and H. pylori status were recorded. The indications for endoscopy were evaluated according to the Maastricht guidelines.
Results: Two hundred and sixteen of 706 patients presented with reflux symptoms, 430 with dyspeptic symptoms, 38 with alarm symptoms and 22 with atypical symptoms. Endoscopy was normal in 376 cases (53.2%); duodenal ulcer was found in 219, gastric ulcer in 45, oesophagitis in 82 and gastric cancer in six. All patients with cancer were older than 45 years, and four presented with alarm symptoms. In 398 cases (56%), endoscopy was considered not to be indicated: 250 patients with a previous diagnosis of ulcer without a change in symptoms, 38 patients in order to confirm eradication and 110 patients younger than 45 years with dyspepsia without alarm symptoms.
Conclusions: A large number of endoscopic examinations could be avoided by following the guidelines of the Maastricht Consensus. In order to reduce endoscopic workload, strategies for educating physicians should be pursued.