Association Between Endoscopist Specialty and Colonoscopy Quality: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis

Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2022 Sep;20(9):1931-1946. doi: 10.1016/j.cgh.2021.08.029. Epub 2021 Aug 25.


Background & aims: Colonoscopy quality indicators provide measurable assessments of performance, but significant provider-level variations exist. We performed a systematic review and meta-analysis to assess whether endoscopist specialty is associated with adenoma detection rate (ADR) - the primary outcome - or cecal intubation rate, adverse event rates, and post-colonoscopy colorectal cancer rates.

Methods: We searched EMBASE, Google Scholar, MEDLINE, and the Cochrane Central Registry of Controlled Trials from inception to December 14, 2020. Two reviewers independently screened titles and abstracts. Citations underwent duplicate full-text review, with disagreements resolved by a third reviewer. Data were abstracted in duplicate. The DerSimonian and Laird random effects model was used to calculate pooled odds ratios (ORs) with respective 95% confidence intervals (CIs). Risk of bias was assessed using Risk of Bias in Non-randomised Studies of Interventions.

Results: Of 11,314 citations, 36 studies representing 3,500,832 colonoscopies were included. Compared with colonoscopies performed by gastroenterologists, those by surgeons were associated with lower ADRs (OR, 0.81; 95% CI, 0.74-0.88) and lower cecal intubation rates (OR, 0.76; 95% CI, 0.63-0.92). Compared with colonoscopies performed by gastroenterologists, those by other (non-gastroenterologist, non-surgeon) endoscopists were associated with lower ADRs (OR, 0.91; 95% CI, 0.87-0.96), higher perforation rates (OR, 3.02; 95% CI, 1.65-5.51), and higher post-colonoscopy colorectal cancer rates (OR, 1.23; 95% CI, 1.14-1.33). Substantial to considerable heterogeneity existed for most analyses, and overall certainty in the evidence was low according to the Grading of Recommendations, Assessment, Development, and Evaluations framework.

Conclusion: Colonoscopies performed by surgeons or other endoscopists were associated with poorer quality metrics and outcomes compared with those performed by gastroenterologists. Targeted quality improvement efforts may be warranted.

Keywords: Adenoma; Colonoscopy; Meta-analysis; Quality.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Review
  • Systematic Review
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adenoma*
  • Cecum
  • Colonoscopy
  • Colorectal Neoplasms*
  • Gastroenterologists*
  • Humans