Background: Few bowel-preparation rating scales have been validated. Most scales were intended for comparing oral purgatives and fail to account for washing and/or suctioning by the endoscopist. This limits their utility in studies of colonoscopy outcomes, such as polyp-detection rates.
Objective: To develop a valid and reliable scale for use in colonoscopy outcomes research.
Setting: Academic medical center.
Methods: We developed the Boston bowel preparation scale (BBPS), a 10-point scale that assesses bowel preparation after all cleansing maneuvers are completed by the endoscopist. We assessed interobserver and intraobserver reliability by using video footage of colonoscopies viewed on 2 separate occasions by 22 clinicians. We then applied the BBPS prospectively during screening colonoscopies and compared BBPS scores with clinically meaningful outcomes, including polyp-detection rates and procedure times.
Results: The intraclass correlation coefficient (a measure of interobserver reliability) for BBPS scores was 0.74. The weighted kappa (a measure of intraobserver reliability) for scores was 0.77 (95% CI, 0.66-0.87). During 633 screening colonoscopies, the mean (SD) BBPS score was 6.0 +/- 1.6. Higher BBPS scores (> or =5 vs <5) were associated with a higher polyp-detection rate (40% vs 24%, P < .02). BBPS scores were inversely correlated with colonoscope insertion (r = -0.16, P < .003) and withdrawal (r = -0.23, P < .001) times.
Limitations: Single-center study.
Conclusions: The BBPS is a valid and reliable measure of bowel preparation. It may be well suited to colonoscopy outcomes research because it reflects the colon's cleanliness during the inspection phase of the procedure.