Did you have a colonoscopy? You may be at risk of infection from the procedure...

Did you have a colonoscopy? You may be at risk of infection from the procedure...

Last Reviewed : 12/30/2020
Did you have a colonoscopy? You may be at risk of infection from the procedure...

Did you ever have a colonoscopy? If yes, you may be at risk of infection. Are you in doubt as to how possible that is? If yes, continue reading to find out how. First of all, endoscopy is performed with a reusable optic instrument that enables health experts to look into the gastrointestinal tract of an individual. It serves as both diagnostic and therapeutic procedures. For diagnosing a colon cancer or removing polyps from the intestine, colonoscopy is performed.


Relevant Studies

Every year, more than 15 million colonoscopies and 7 million upper GI endoscopies are performed. Although endoscopies are helpful in screening and diagnosing various illnesses, it has some inherent risks. According to researchers at Johns Hopkins, the rate of infection following these procedures performed at the U.S. outpatient centers is nearly 100 times higher than expected. From the previous records, the infection rate was estimated to be one in a million, but the recent studies showed a different result. Indeed, the latter indicates an estimate of 1 in 1000 patients after screening colonoscopy, 1.6 in 1000 after non-screening colonoscopy, and 3 in 1000 after endoscopy.

Hopkins study used the data from insurance claim databases from six different states which include, Nebraska, Vermont, California, New York, Florida, and Georgia. They tracked emergency room visits related to infection and unplanned inpatient admissions within 7 and 30 days after colonoscopy or endoscopy was done.

The infection rate was even greater in patients admitted to the hospital before undergoing one of the procedures. Nearly 45 in 1000 patients who were hospitalized within 30 days before the procedures developed an infection within a month. On the other hand, infection-related hospitalizations were observed in 59 in 1000 patients after endoscopy.



More Findings

Although outpatient services to perform these procedures were established 40 years ago, they gained popularity only after 20 years, owing to its convenience and less cost. In 2017, 64% of these were owned by physicians, and 28% were affiliated with hospitals and healthcare systems. Well, this was according to the Ambulatory Surgery Center Association records. As these centers lack electronic medical records, they are unaware that most of their patients develop an infection after the procedure. The research author, Huftless, says: “If they don’t know their patients are developing these serious infections, they are not motivated to improve their infection control.” Although the majority of them follow strict infection control guidelines, the infection rates at some centers were found to be 100 times higher than previously believed. The author concludes by saying that “Revolutionary advances in endoscopy and colonoscopy have made the treatment and prevention of gastric diseases easier, but doctors and patients should also be aware of infections associated with the procedures.”

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