Risks Associated with Anesthesia Services During Colonoscopy

Published in: Gastroenterology, v. 150, no. 4, Apr. 2016, p. 888-894

Posted on RAND.org on April 22, 2016

by Karen J. Wernli, Alison T. Brenner, Carolyn M. Rutter, John M. Inadomi

Read More

Access further information on this document at Gastroenterology

This article was published outside of RAND. The full text of the article can be found at the link above.

BACKGROUND & AIMS: We aimed to quantify the difference in complications from colonoscopy with vs without anesthesia services. METHODS: We conducted a prospective cohort study and analyzed administrative claims data from Truven Health Analytics MarketScan Research Databases from 2008 through 2011. We identified 3,168,228 colonoscopy procedures in men and women, aged 40–64 years old. Colonoscopy complications were measured within 30 days, including colonic (ie, perforation, hemorrhage, abdominal pain), anesthesia-associated (ie, pneumonia, infection, complications secondary to anesthesia), and cardiopulmonary outcomes (ie, hypotension, myocardial infarction, stroke), adjusted for age, sex, polypectomy status, Charlson comorbidity score, region, and calendar year. RESULTS: Nationwide, 34.4% of colonoscopies were conducted with anesthesia services. Rates of use varied significantly by region (53% in the Northeast vs 8% in the West; P < .0001). Use of anesthesia service was associated with a 13% increase in the risk of any complication within 30 days (95% confidence interval [CI], 1.12–1.14), and was associated specifically with an increased risk of perforation (odds ratio [OR], 1.07; 95% CI, 1.00–1.15), hemorrhage (OR, 1.28; 95% CI, 1.27–1.30), abdominal pain (OR, 1.07; 95% CI, 1.05–1.08), complications secondary to anesthesia (OR, 1.15; 95% CI, 1.05–1.28), and stroke (OR, 1.04; 95% CI, 1.00–1.08). For most outcomes, there were no differences in risk with anesthesia services by polypectomy status. However, the risk of perforation associated with anesthesia services was increased only in patients with a polypectomy (OR, 1.26; 95% CI, 1.09–1.52). In the Northeast, use of anesthesia services was associated with a 12% increase in risk of any complication; among colonoscopies performed in the West, use of anesthesia services was associated with a 60% increase in risk. CONCLUSIONS: The overall risk of complications after colonoscopy increases when individuals receive anesthesia services. The widespread adoption of anesthesia services with colonoscopy should be considered within the context of all potential risks.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation External publication series. Many RAND studies are published in peer-reviewed scholarly journals, as chapters in commercial books, or as documents published by other organizations.

Our mission to help improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis is enabled through our core values of quality and objectivity and our unwavering commitment to the highest level of integrity and ethical behavior. To help ensure our research and analysis are rigorous, objective, and nonpartisan, we subject our research publications to a robust and exacting quality-assurance process; avoid both the appearance and reality of financial and other conflicts of interest through staff training, project screening, and a policy of mandatory disclosure; and pursue transparency in our research engagements through our commitment to the open publication of our research findings and recommendations, disclosure of the source of funding of published research, and policies to ensure intellectual independence. For more information, visit www.rand.org/about/principles.

The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.