Measurement of serum electrolytes and phosphate after sodium phosphate colonoscopy bowel preparation: an evaluation

Dig Dis Sci. 2005 Jul;50(7):1319-23. doi: 10.1007/s10620-005-2780-9.


Our purpose was to observe the effects of sodium phosphate (NaP) colonoscopy preparation on serum electrolytes, phosphate, and calcium and to identify factors associated with any adverse effects. In an unselected group of 100 consecutive patients attending for out patient colonoscopy, 45% of patients had raised serum phosphate, which was positively correlated with creatinine and age. There was a negative association of phosphate with calcium; 16% of patients had hypocalcemia and 26% had hypokalemia. Patients taking ACE inhibitors, AT2 antagonists, or diuretics were associated with hyperphosphatemia. Significant electrolyte and metabolic disturbance from colonoscopy preparation has been shown with NaP preparation, without overt clinical effects. We recommend that elderly patients and those with significant comorbidity have their electrolytes and calcium measured, and diuretics and ACE inhibitors stopped, before NaP administration. Endoscopy units should be alert for patients who might be suffering from electrolyte disturbance postpreparation and be prepared to measure their electrolytes.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Calcium / blood
  • Cathartics / adverse effects*
  • Colonoscopy*
  • Electrolytes / blood*
  • Enema / adverse effects
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Phosphates / adverse effects*
  • Phosphates / blood*
  • Potassium / blood
  • Sodium / blood
  • Time Factors


  • Cathartics
  • Electrolytes
  • Phosphates
  • Sodium
  • Potassium
  • sodium phosphate
  • Calcium