Aim: To study adherence to the widely accepted surveillance guidelines for patients with long-standing colitis in The Netherlands.
Methods: A questionnaire was sent to all 244 gastroenterologists in The Netherlands.
Results: The response rate was 63%. Of all gastroenterologists, 95% performed endoscopic surveillance in ulcerative colitis (UC) patients and 65% in patients with Crohn's colitis. The American Gastroenterological Association (AGA) guidelines were followed by 27%, while 27% and 46% followed their local hospital protocol or no specific protocol, respectively. The surveillance was correctly initiated in cases of pancolitis by 53%, and in cases of left-sided colitis by 44% of the gastroenterologists. Although guidelines recommend 4 biopsies every 10 cm, less than 30 biopsies per colonoscopy were taken by 73% of the responders. Only 31%, 68% and 58% of the gastroenterologists referred patients for colectomy when low-grade dysplasia, high-grade dysplasia (HGD) or Dysplasia Associated Lesion or Mass (DALM) was present, respectively.
Conclusion: Most Dutch gastroenterologists perform endoscopic surveillance without following international recommended guidelines. This practice potentially leads to a decreased sensitivity for dysplasia, rendering screening for colorectal cancer in this population highly ineffective.