Patient tolerance and acceptance of different colonic imaging modalities: an observational cohort study

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Less invasive alternatives to optical colonoscopy (OC) may improve patient compliance with investigation, but study of patient preference is limited.


The aims of this study were to determine patient tolerance and acceptability of OC, computed tomography colonography (CTC) and colon capsule endoscopy (CCE) and also to determine the choice of investigation made by fully informed members of the lay public.

Patients and methods

Patients assigned a Gloucester Comfort Score (GCS, 1–5; as did endoscopists), an overall test experience score (visual analogue scale, 0–10) and completed a ‘Friends and Family Test’ following OC, CTC or CCE. In the second part of the study, members of the public were given information detailing the nature, tolerance, acceptability, risks and outcomes and invited to choose which test they would prefer in the event that one was needed.


Assessed by endoscopist and patient, respectively, 24.2 and 49.3% (P<0.005) of symptomatic and 27.3 and 22.1% (P=0.4) of Bowel Cancer Screening Programme patients suffered moderate to severe discomfort (GCS: 4–5) [GCS (mean±SEM): 3.32±0.085, 1.96±0.083 and 1.30±0.088 (P<0.001); overall experience: 5.43, 2.35 and 3.80 (P<0.001)]. In all, 93.6, 96.1 and 85.7% of OC, CTC and CCE patients, respectively, were willing to undergo the same test under the same circumstances. The lay public (n=100) chose a noninvasive test (CTC or CCE) in 55% of the cases to investigate symptoms and chose a Bowel Cancer Screening Programme test in 29% of the cases (P<0.001).


Patient tolerance and experience favours CTC and CCE over OC and informed about all aspects of each procedure; a noninvasive option is commonly chosen by the lay public.

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