Researchers: Colonoscopy results in few adverse events

A German study has determined that the complication rate associated with colonoscopy is low enough to be justifiable, considering the benefits of screening, according to an article in Science World Report.

The study, published in Gastrointestinal Endoscopy, involved the evaluation of 30,000 individuals insured with the German statutory health insurance AOK who underwent outpatient colonoscopy between 2001 and 2008. Researchers found that intestinal bleeding requiring hospitalization occurred in just five out of every 10,000 colonoscopies, while injuries to the intestinal wall occurred in only one case out of every 1,000 exams.

"The rare serious local complications usually only occur when a large polyp is detected and removed during a colonoscopy," Hermann Brenner,M.D., of the German Cancer Research Center in Heidelberg, said. "But these are the cases where patients profit most from colonoscopy, which may have saved their lives." Article

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