Colonoscopy and its complications across a Canadian regional health authority

Gastrointest Endosc. 2009 Mar;69(3 Pt 2):665-71. doi: 10.1016/j.gie.2008.09.046.


Background: Defining the complication rate of endoscopy performed across an entire city will capture usual as opposed to referral center data.

Objective: Our purpose was to evaluate the current practice of colonoscopy and complications associated with lower GI endoscopy in usual clinical practice.

Design: All admissions within 30 days of an outpatient lower GI endoscopy at any of the 6 adult-care Winnipeg hospitals were identified. This includes endoscopy for both complex and routine patients. A chart audit of all cases with potential complications was performed.

Results: A total of 24,509 outpatient lower GI endoscopies for adults were performed at the 6 hospitals over the 2 study years (April 1, 2004, to March 31, 2006). There were 303 admissions with potential complications. The colonoscopy completion rate was 65% (72% for gastroenterologists vs 59% for general surgeons, P < .005). Quality of bowel preparation and nature of polyps were often not documented. The overall rate of complications was 2.9/1000 procedures; the perforation rate after polypectomy was 1.8/1000; and the postpolypectomy bleeding rate was 6.4/1000. Most (67%) complications were recognized after discharge for the index procedure. The complication rate was highest for the endoscopists performing fewer than 200 procedures per year (5.4/1000 vs 2.7/1000 for the rest, P = .02, relative risk 2 [95% CI, 1.1-3.7]).

Limitations: Chart audit was limited to cases requiring admission within 30 days of the index procedure.

Conclusions: The overall complication rate after lower GI endoscopy in usual clinical practice in Winnipeg is comparable to that previously reported. A higher complication rate after endoscopy by low-volume endoscopists needs to be further evaluated. The reporting of endoscopy must be standardized to enhance outcomes interpretation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Colonoscopy / adverse effects*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Manitoba
  • Middle Aged
  • Postoperative Complications / epidemiology
  • Postoperative Complications / etiology
  • Retrospective Studies