Background: Lower reimbursements for endoscopic procedures and increasing demand for screening endoscopy over the past decade have spurred efforts to increase efficiency in the performance of endoscopic procedures. Two dichotomous approaches have emerged: (1) unsedated endoscopy and (2) propofol sedation. The aim was to determine national practice patterns of unsedated endoscopy and propofol sedation, and to assess endoscopists' attitudes toward unsedated screening with an electronic survey.
Methods: A short survey was developed and then was converted to a Web-based format. All national members of the American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy (ASGE) were invited via electronic mail (e-mail) to participate. Survey data were collected electronically.
Results: Two e-mails elicited responses to the Web survey from 18% (724) of national ASGE members contacted, within 2 weeks. Of the respondents, 45% do not routinely offer unsedated EGD and colonoscopy, and only 15% of those respondents plan to incorporate unsedated endoscopy into their practice in the next year. Of the 55% who currently perform unsedated endoscopy, 85% do no more than 25 unsedated procedures per year. Lack of patient acceptance was the most common reason cited for not offering unsedated endoscopy. Most endoscopists felt that the availability of unsedated esophagoscopy or colonoscopy would not significantly increase screening for Barrett's esophagus or colonic polyps/colorectal cancer, respectively. Routine use of propofol sedation for EGD, colonoscopy, and ERCP/EUS was reported by 19%, 22%, and 19%, respectively. Community practitioners were more likely to use propofol than those at academic centers (p < 0.0002 for all). Of those not currently using propofol, 43% plan to incorporate it into their practice within the next year. Over 70% of respondents would themselves choose to be sedated for routine endoscopic procedures.
Conclusions: Electronic surveys allow for rapid distribution and data collection but suffer from a limited response rate. The survey suggests that unsedated endoscopy has limited acceptance in the United States, and, without a major intervention that affects endoscopists' attitudes, its use is not likely to increase significantly. Unsedated endoscopy will not have a great impact on endoscopic screening. In contrast, propofol sedation has already gained acceptance in the community, and the routine use of propofol in endoscopy units will likely increase in the future.