Objectives: In addition to the well known complications of bleeding and perforation, GI endoscopy also can produce discomfort, anxiety, and dissatisfaction. In this pilot study, our objective was to obtain information on the fears and concerns of patients about to undergo endoscopy and to assess the relationship of such worries to patient satisfaction and difficulty with the procedure.
Methods: At our two referral hospitals, 793 unsedated patients (45% men, 55% women, average 58 yr) were interviewed by GI nurses before the intended procedure. Information on procedure-related concerns and difficulty/satisfaction with the procedure was obtained.
Results: Sixty percent of our sample reported preprocedure concerns, most often: 1) finding out what is wrong (18%); 2) pain (12%); and 3) finding cancer (4%). New York patients were more concerned than North Carolina patients with finding out what was wrong (23 vs 12%) although patients at both sites were equally concerned about having pain during the procedure (12%); women (16%), younger patients (16%), and those about to have their first procedure (17%) reported more concerns about pain. Regression analysis indicated that women and persons having no or fewer procedures were more likely to report a concern. Having had previous endoscopic procedures predicted greater satisfaction with subsequent endoscopies. Finally, a high level of preprocedure concerns was associated with perceived difficulties related to the procedure.
Conclusions: We believe that, by considering patient demographics, asking about previous experiences with endoscopy, and eliciting special concerns, the nurse or physician can focus patient education in a fashion that may reduce anticipatory anxiety.