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Perforation and post-polypectomy bleeding complicating colonoscopy in a population-based screening program


Background and Study Aims — We aimed to estimate the rate of hospital admissions for perforation and for post-polypectomy bleeding, after outpatient colonoscopy following a first positive fecal occult blood test screen through the population-based ColonCancerCheck program in Ontario, Canada.

Patients and Methods — We identified all individuals aged 50 to 74 years with a first positive CCC gFOBT screening result from 2008 to 2017 who underwent outpatient colonoscopy ≤ 6 months later and who did not receive a diagnosis of CRC ≤ 24 months later. We identified inpatient hospital admissions for colonic perforation ≤ 7 days after and for post-polypectomy bleeding ≤ 14 days following colonoscopy.

Results — Among 121,626 individuals who underwent colonoscopy, the rate of perforation was 0.6 per 1000 from 2008 to 2012 and 0.4 per 1000 from 2013 to 2017. The rate was elevated among those aged 70 to 74 years; those with comorbidities; when colonoscopy was performed by endoscopists other than gastroenterologists or endoscopists with low prior year volume; and when polypectomy was performed during colonoscopy. The rate of bleeding was 4.3 per 1000 and was elevated among those aged 70 to 74 years, those with comorbidity, and with complex polypectomy. Both outcomes were more common among those aged 70 to 74 years, those with a 5-year cumulative Charlson score ≥ 1, those with prior hospitalization for ischemic heart disease, and those with endoscopists whose prior year colonoscopy volume was in the three lower quartiles.

Conclusions — Colonic perforation and post-polypectomy bleeding, among participants of population-based colorectal screening programs who test positive in the absence of colorectal cancer, are infrequent but serious complications, which increase with participant age and comorbidity, and with endoscopist characteristics.



Paszat LF, Sutradhar R, Luo J, Rabeneck L, Tinmouth J. Endosc Int Open. 2021; 9(4):E637-45. Epub 2021 Apr 15.

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