Objective: Although oesophagogastroduodenoscopies (OGDs) are associated with few medical complications, substantial pre-procedural anxiety and discomfort during the procedure have been reported. The aims of the present study were to evaluate OGD-related discomfort assessed by the patient and to identify the possibilities for improvement.
Material and methods: All outpatients undergoing OGDs at a single centre during 2004 were eligible for the study. On site, the endoscopy team completed a questionnaire on age of patients, gender and the use of sedation/anaesthesia. After the examination, the patients were given a questionnaire focusing on discomfort during and after the examination. The questionnaire was to be completed at home the following day and returned in a prepaid envelope.
Results: During the study period, 1283 examinations were registered, giving 92% coverage of OGDs. The patient response rate was 80%. Patients' mean age was 55 years, and 45% were men. The sedation rate was 7.3%. None or only slight discomfort was experienced by 68% of the patients and severe discomfort by 14%. In patients, the odds ratio (OR) for experiencing moderate or severe discomfort decreased with increasing age (OR 0.96, 95% CI 0.95-0.97, p < 0.001). There were significant differences in patient discomfort depending on the level of experience of the endoscopists.
Conclusions: The majority of patients reported no or only slight discomfort during the examination, but as many as 32% did not. Increased use of sedation in selected patients is recommended. Our quality assurance program included a limited number of variables for registration, with satisfactory compliance by endoscopists and patients.