Background and study aims: Upper gastrointestinal endoscopy in patients with functional dyspepsia is often carried out merely to reassure patients that symptoms are not due to serious pathology. The aim of this study was to compare anxiety, depression, and health-related quality of life as proxy values for reassurance in patients with functional dyspepsia before and after upper gastrointestinal endoscopy.
Patients and methods: Consecutive patients referred for endoscopy between February 2002 and February 2004 were included in the study. They were asked to score anxiety and depression using the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale, health-related quality of life using the EuroQol-5D questionnaire, and their impression of their own general health using a visual analogue scale, 2 weeks before endoscopy and again 1 month afterwards.
Results: A total of 420 patients were included, 42 % of whom were found to have an organic abnormality of some sort during upper gastrointestinal endoscopy. Neither the anxiety nor the depression frequencies differed significantly before and after endoscopy, either in patients with organic abnormalities at endoscopy or in those without. The general impression of health did not change after endoscopy either: organic abnormalities 62.7 +/- 27.4 vs. 64.9 +/- 24.2, P = 0.28; functional dyspepsia 61.0 +/- 27.9 vs. 62.8 +/- 27.2, P = 0.39. Only patients who had organic abnormalities reported a slightly improved quality of life 1 month after endoscopy: 0.74 +/- 0.15 vs. 0.78 +/- 0.12, P < 0.01.
Conclusion: In patients with functional dyspepsia, upper gastrointestinal endoscopy does not improve psychological well-being or health-related quality of life. In view of the invasiveness, cost, and potential harm associated with endoscopy, careful consideration should be given to whether this procedure should be carried out merely for the sake of the patient's "peace of mind".