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Colonoscopy-related complications in a nationwide immunochemical fecal occult blood test-based colorectal cancer screening program

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  • Ellen M Mikkelsen
  • Mette Kielsholm Thomsen
  • Julie Tybjerg, RKKP, The Danish Clinical Registries, A National Quality Improvement Programme, Aarhus
  • ,
  • Lennart Friis-Hansen, Department of Clinical Biochemistry, Nordsjællands Hospital, Hillerød
  • ,
  • Berit Andersen
  • Jens Christian Riis Jørgensen, Department of Surgery, Vejle Hospital, Vejle
  • ,
  • Gunnar Baatrup, Department of Surgery, Odense University Hospital, Odense, Department of Clinical Research, University of Southern Denmark
  • ,
  • Sisse H Njor
  • Frank Mehnert
  • Morten Rasmussen, Department of Digestive Diseases K, Bispebjerg Hospital, Copenhagen.

Background: The Danish national screening program for colorectal cancer (CRC) consists of an immunochemical fecal occult blood test (iFOBT) followed by colonoscopy. The Danish Colorectal Cancer Screening Database (DCCSD) records data on the incidence of hospital-registered complications after colonoscopy. However, the validity of these data is unknown, and the incidence of complications is potentially underreported. Objective: To evaluate the validity of the colonoscopy complications registered in the DCCSD by using medical records as the reference. Further, to evaluate the incidence of complications leading to hospital contact. Methods: Among 14,671 individuals with a positive iFOBT result and a colonoscopy procedure performed from March 3, 2014 to December 31, 2014, we selected 295 individuals for medical record review. We calculated sensitivity as the proportion of true complications registered in the DCCSD out of all complications found in the medical records, and the positive predictive value (PPV) as the number of true complications in the DCCSD out of all DCCSD-registered complications. On the basis of the medical record data, we calculated the incidence proportion of hospital-registered complications overall and by subtype. Results: In total, we reviewed 286 records and found 102 individuals with at least one complication. The sensitivity of the DCCSD for any complication was 29.4% (95% CI: 20.8–39.3) and the PPV was 88.2% (95% CI: 72.6–96.7). On the basis of the medical record data, the incidence proportion of any complication after colonoscopy was 0.70% (95% CI: 0.57–0.84) and that of perforation or lesion was 0.10% (95% CI: 0.06–0.17); bleeding, 0.41% (95% CI: 0.31–0.53); post-polypectomy syndrome, 0.16% (95% CI: 0.10–0.24); and other medical complications, 0.04 (95% CI: 0.02–0.09). Conclusion: The DCCSD has low sensitivity for complications, and improvements in data registration are warranted. The incidence proportion of any hospital-treated post-colonoscopy complication was 0.70% in 2014, which was the first year of the Danish national CRC screening program. This is within the range of complications reported by other studies.

Original languageEnglish
JournalClinical epidemiology
Pages (from-to)1649-1655
Number of pages7
Publication statusPublished - 13 Nov 2018

    Research areas

  • Harms, Prevention, Public health

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