Introduction: Anxious patients can cause unexpected increases in healthcare costs that are often overlooked. There are no studies examining the use of an educational pamphlet and its effects on secondary outcomes at colonoscopy. The goal of this study was to determine if the use of an educational pamphlet lowers the anxiety levels before colonoscopy, and if its use has any effect on the quality of the prep or medication or the amount of medication use during the procedure.
Methods: We prospectively enrolled 121 patients having a first-time screening colonoscopy. Patients were blinded and randomized into two groups. One group received standard prep instructions only (group P), and the other group received the American Gastroenterological Association colonoscopy educational pamphlet along with their prep instructions (group I). All information was sent by mail 3 weeks before the procedure. The endoscopists were blinded as to which of their patients were in the study and of those, which were in the standard prep group or the intervention group. Anxiety was measured immediately before endoscopy using the State portion of the 'State Trait Anxiety Index'. Procedure-related information was recorded and analyzed at the end of the study using a statistical package looking at primary and secondary endpoints.
Results: Fifteen patients did not show their examination or were otherwise lost to follow-up. Of the 106 patients who completed the study, there were 55 patients in the P group and 51 in the I group. The average State Anxiety score of the P group was 45.18, and of the I group was 40.54 (P=0.014). The use of Midazolam was significantly less in the group. The use of Meperidine was lower in the I group but the difference was not statistically significant. Both the groups took the same amount of time to complete the prep, but the I group fasted longer. The I group also completed or drank more of the prep more often than the P group. The prep quality was found to be superior with less frequency of a poor prep in the I group. Most important, the I group was more likely to have a complete colonoscopy. The I group tended to have fewer questions on the day of the procedure, and less fear about what to expect on the basis of their lower anxiety scores.
Conclusion: We found that providing the American Gastroenterological Association educational pamphlet to patients before colonoscopy lowers the overall anxiety level, provides a reduction in sedative use during the procedure, and leads to better colon preparation when given in addition to standard instructions.