Clues to patient dissatisfaction with conscious sedation for colonoscopy

Am J Gastroenterol. 1994 Sep;89(9):1476-9.


Objectives: Most colonoscopy is performed using conscious sedation to facilitate the procedure. However, little is known about which patients are dissatisfied with sedation and why. The goal of this study was to examine whether certain patient- and procedure-specific variables are associated with patient dissatisfaction.

Methods: A total of 403 consecutive outpatients underwent colonoscopy during a 4-month study period. Of 342 patients who met entrance criteria, 328 completed the initial questionnaire and were enrolled. Subjects received standard conscious sedation; after colonoscopy, the primary endoscopist and nurse recorded the level of sedation as adequate or inadequate. Twenty-four to 72 hr after the procedure, an independent observer contacted the subjects by telephone and asked whether they were satisfied with the level of sedation achieved during the colonoscopy. A number of patient- (age, gender, anxiety level, and educational background) and procedure-specific variables (waiting time and procedure type, difficulty, and duration) were analyzed to determine their association with patient dissatisfaction.

Results: Forty-eight patients (15%) were dissatisfied with sedation. Univariable analysis showed that females, anxiety, higher education (at least 1 yr of college), procedure duration > or = 60 min, and procedure difficulty were all associated with the dissatisfaction with sedation (p < 0.05). Multivariable analysis revealed that only higher education (p = 0.009) and longer procedure duration (p = 0.018) were associated with patient dissatisfaction.

Conclusions: Highly educated patients and those who underwent longer procedures were more likely to be dissatisfied with conscious sedation used for colonoscopy. A thorough discussion of expectations and/or patient-controlled sedation might improve satisfaction with colonoscopy in educated patients. Regular supplementation of sedation, termination of a lengthy procedure with the offer of a further attempt at a later date, and referral to a more experienced endoscopist when appropriate might all improve patient satisfaction with colonoscopy.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Anxiety / epidemiology
  • Colonoscopy / psychology*
  • Conscious Sedation / psychology*
  • Educational Status
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Satisfaction* / statistics & numerical data
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Time Factors