Unsedated ultrathin EGD is well accepted when compared with conventional sedated EGD: a multicenter randomized trial

Gastroenterology. 2003 Dec;125(6):1606-12. doi: 10.1053/j.gastro.2003.08.034.


Background & aims: In the United States, upper gastrointestinal endoscopy is usually performed using intravenous sedation. Sedation increases the rate of both complications and costs of endoscopy. Unsedated esophagogastroduodenoscopy (EGD) using conventional 8-11-mm endoscopes is an alternative to sedated endoscopy but is generally perceived as unacceptable to many American patients. Unsedated EGD using ultrathin 5-6-mm endoscopes is better tolerated. A randomized trial comparing unsedated ultrathin EGD (UT-EGD) with sedated conventional EGD (C-EGD) in a diverse American population is needed.

Methods: In this multicenter, randomized, controlled trial, 80 patients scheduled to undergo elective outpatient EGD were randomized to unsedated UT-EGD or sedated C-EGD. The study was carried out at San Francisco General Hospital, San Francisco Veterans Affairs Medical Center, and the Liver and Digestive Health Medical Clinic, San Jose.

Results: Baseline characteristics of patients randomized to unsedated UT-EGD and sedated C-EGD were similar. Moreover, there were no significant differences in overall patient satisfaction and willingness to repeat endoscopy in the same manner among the 2 study groups. There was, however, a significant difference in median total procedure time between the 2 study groups of 1.5 hours (P < 0.0001). The mean (+/- SD) total procedure cost was 512.4 US dollars (+/- 100.8 US dollars) for sedated C-EGD and 328.6 US dollars (+/- 70.3 US dollars) for unsedated UT-EGD (P < 0.0001).

Conclusions: Patients undergoing unsedated UT-EGD are as satisfied as patients undergoing sedated C-EGD and are just as willing to repeat an unsedated UT-EGD. Unsedated UT-EGD was also faster, less costly, and may allow greater accessibility to this procedure.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Costs and Cost Analysis
  • Endoscopy, Digestive System / methods*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypnotics and Sedatives / pharmacology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged


  • Hypnotics and Sedatives