Impact of adenoma detection rate on detection of advanced adenomas and endoscopic adverse events in a study of over 200,000 screening colonoscopies

Gastrointest Endosc. 2020 Jan;91(1):135-141. doi: 10.1016/j.gie.2019.08.038. Epub 2019 Sep 6.


Background and aims: Adenoma detection rate (ADR) is the best established quality parameter for screening colonoscopy. Guidelines recommend a target ADR >25% because previous studies have shown that patients of endoscopists with higher ADRs have a lower risk of postcolonoscopy interval cancers. However, studies have shown that improvement in ADR mainly results in increased detection of clinically irrelevant nonadvanced adenomas (NAAs). The impact of ADR on the detection of advanced adenomas (AAs) as well as adverse event rates has yet to be determined.

Methods: A total of 218,193 screening colonoscopies performed between 2007 and 2010 by 262 endoscopists within the Austrian quality assurance program were analyzed. We divided endoscopists into quintiles based on ADRs and calculated mean advanced ADRs (AADRs), NAA detection rates (NAADRs), and adverse event rates for each quintile. Spearman rank-order was used to calculate overall correlations between ADRs and AADRs as well as adverse event rates. Endoscopists with an ADR <25% were compared with those with an ADR >25%.

Results: Fifty-one percent of patients were women. Mean ADR was 23.03% (95% confidence interval [CI], 21.93-24.13), AADRs 7.72% (95% CI, 7.19-8.25), and NAADRs 15.31% (95% CI, 14.36-16.27). Overall, there was a significant correlation between ADR and AADR (rho = .51; P < .001). When ADR was divided into quintiles, mean AADR increased with increasing ADR. Even in the highest ADR group (ADR, 31.36%-52.27%) there was a further increase in AADR with a mean of 10.75% (95% CI, 9.31-12.19). Importantly, NAADRs increased continuously with improvement in ADRs but never dissociated from a simultaneous improvement in AADRs. However, there was also a significant correlation of ADRs and endoscopic adverse events (rho = .26, P < .001), even if the perforation rate of .028% (95% CI, .004-.052) in the highest ADR group still remained within the accepted limits based on guidelines.

Conclusions: Increasing ADR is associated with improved detection of AAs and therefore is likely to prevent more cases of colorectal cancer. However, higher ADR was also associated with a higher rate of adverse events, although the adverse event rate was low.

MeSH terms

  • Adenoma / diagnosis*
  • Adenoma / surgery
  • Aged
  • Austria
  • Colonic Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Colonic Neoplasms / surgery
  • Colonoscopy / adverse effects*
  • Databases, Factual
  • Early Detection of Cancer
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mass Screening
  • Middle Aged
  • Postoperative Complications / epidemiology*
  • Retrospective Studies