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Boston Medical Center research study validates the Boston Bowel Preparation Scale

(Boston) Boston Medical Center (BMC) doctors have proven the reliability of the Boston Bowel Preparation Scale (BBPS), a tool that assesses the cleanliness of the colon during colonoscopies. This study, published in the October 2010 issue of the journal Gastrointestinal Endoscopy, demonstrates the scale's accuracy and could become an international standardized tool to rate colon cleanliness during colonoscopy.

Audrey Calderwood, MD, a physician in BMC's section of gastroenterology and an assistant professor at Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM), is lead author of the study along with senior author, Brian Jacobson, MD, MPH, an associate professor at BUSM.

The BBPS was developed by BMC's section of gastroenterology to provide a much needed standardized instrument for rating the quality of bowel preparation during colonoscopy, which is important for clinical practice, quality assurance, and outcomes research in colonoscopy. Three segments of the colon (right, transverse and left) are given a rating based on its cleanliness, and the three section scores are added together for a BBPS score.

The study involved teaching clinicians about the BBPS scale, showing them videos (on DVD) of previously recorded colonoscopies and asking them to give a BBPS rating, and asking them to provide a BBPS rating during screening colonoscopies.

The data showed high rates of reliability in overall scores. It also showed that the BBPS is sensitive to differences in cleanliness within the separate segments of the bowel. Additionally, the BBPS can be easily disseminated and taught through a brief Web-based video, making it a strong candidate as a standardized tool for rating bowel preparation quality.

"This research validates the reliability and utility of the BBPS in research and clinical settings," said Calderwood, whose research interests include colon cancer prevention and quality in colonoscopy. "Having this standardized tool will help clinicians across the globe accurately report on the cleanliness of the bowel."


Contact: Jenny Eriksen
Boston University Medical Center

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