Post-Colonoscopy Complications: A Systematic Review, Time Trends, and Meta-Analysis of Population-Based Studies

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OBJECTIVES:Many studies around the world addressed the post-colonoscopy complications, but their pooled prevalence and time trends are unknown. We performed a systematic review and meta-analysis of population-based studies to examine the pooled prevalence of post-colonoscopy complications (“perforation”, “bleeding”, and “mortality”), stratified by colonoscopy indication. Temporal variability in the complication rate was assessed.METHODS:We queried Pubmed, Embase, and the Cochrane library for population-based studies examining post-colonoscopy complications (within 30 days), performed from 2001 to 2015 and published by 1 December 2015. We determined pooled prevalence of perforations, post-colonoscopy bleeding, post-polypectomy bleeding, and mortality.RESULTS:We retrieved 1,074 studies, of which 21 met the inclusion criteria. Overall, pooled prevalences for perforation, post-colonoscopy bleeding, and mortality were 0.5/1,000 (95% confidence interval (CI) 0.4–0.7), 2.6/1,000 (95% CI 1.7–3.7), and 2.9/100,000 (95% CI 1.1–5.5) colonoscopies. Colonoscopy with polypectomy was associated with a perforation rate of 0.8/1,000 (95% CI 0.6–1.0) and a post-polypectomy bleeding rate of 9.8/1,000 (95% CI 7.7–12.1). Complication rate was lower for screening/surveillance than for diagnostic examinations. Time-trend analysis showed that post-colonoscopy bleeding declined from 6.4 to 1.0/1,000 colonoscopies, whereas the perforation and mortality rates remained stable from 2001 to 2015. Overall, considerable heterogeneity was observed in most of the analyses.CONCLUSIONS:Worldwide, the post-colonoscopy complication rate remained stable or even declined over the past 15 years. The findings of this meta-analysis encourage continued efforts to achieve and maintain safety targets in colonoscopy practice.

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