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Deep Sleep May Improve Colonoscopy Results
Date:6/1/2009

Study findings could have lifesaving potential

MONDAY, June 1 (HealthDay News) -- Putting patients into a deep sleep during colonoscopy results in more frequent detection of precancerous polyps than merely making patients sleepy with sedatives, new research has found.

During colonoscopy, patients can either be put to sleep under deep sedation or kept awake using moderate conscious sedation, which allows them to hear and respond to directions during the procedure.

Researchers found that placing patients under deep sedation resulted in the detection of more polyps, clumps of cells that form on the colon lining that may eventually become cancerous, according to a news release from the American Gastroenterological Association.

The reason could be that during deep sedation, patients are more relaxed and physicians can focus completely on polyp detection, the researchers said.

The findings are to be presented Tuesday at Digestive Disease Week 2009 in Chicago.

In the study, the researchers examined a database of endoscopy (the procedure used in colonoscopy) reports from 61 sites across the United States. Patients were either deeply sedated or given moderate conscious sedation.

Gastroenterologists found 25 percent more polyps in patients under deep sedation after controlling for age, gender and race. Doctors also found more large polyps, which are likelier to become cancerous than small ones.

"We don't know for sure whether these polyps would have been found if the patients were examined under moderate sedation," said study author Dr. Katherine M. Hoda, senior fellow in the department of gastroenterology at Oregon Health & Science University. "Our study suggests that deep sedation finds more polyps, which could have an impact on the way physicians conduct colonoscopies."

Still, the study involved a small number of patients and was not randomized, so more research needs
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