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Family Docs Do Colonoscopies Safely
Date:1/15/2009

the appropriate training," he said. "So that's the key. Training."

"That means that on a basic level, you want to know if there is a quality monitoring system in place at the facility in which the primary-care physician practices," Brooks suggested. "And what sort of formal training your doctor had, and how many of these procedures have he or she performed in their past, and how often have they performed them recently. These are the important questions."

In the study, the researchers pointed out that colorectal cancer is currently the second leading cause of cancer death in the United States. They further noted that, despite the fact that less than a third of eligible patients now avail themselves of colonoscopies, the demand for such screenings is nonetheless growing fast.

To control for screening quality, the American Society of Gastrointestinal Endoscopists and the American College of Gastroenterology have recommended standards for methodology and detection sensitivity.

The 12 studies Wilkins and his team reviewed included slightly more than 12,000 colonoscopy patients, evenly split between men and women, with an average patient age of 59. Most of the screenings in the studies were performed by family physicians.

No one in the pool of patients died as a result of a colonoscopy, the authors observed, and just seven patients experienced either bleeding or colonic perforation complications. This complication frequency falls within standard guidelines, the researchers noted.

In just over 89 percent of screenings, the physicians were able to successfully conduct a proper and full rectum to cecum examination, in which the screening physician uses the telescopic device (colonoscope) to examine the entire colon.

Screening recommendations suggest that 90 percent to 95 percent of colonoscopies should meet this objective.

In that regard, the researcher noted that most colonoscopies now involve c
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