Are We Overdoing Pediatric Lower Gastrointestinal Endoscopy?

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Introduction:Lower gastrointestinal endoscopy (LGIE)/colonoscopy is frequently performed for rectal bleeding, recurrent abdominal pain, and the diagnosis of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Although these are common indications, the causes of isolated rectal bleeding and recurrent abdominal pain in the otherwise well child have not been described.Methods:A retrospective analysis of patients who had had an LGIE/colonoscopy from January 2001 to December 2010 was performed. The following data were collected: demographic data, indication, distance reached, macroscopic findings, microscopic findings, diagnosis, additional procedures, and complications.Results:There were a total of 999 colonoscopies. The colonoscopy was normal in 390 of 999 (39%). The commonest indication for colonoscopy was a diagnosis of suspected IBD, 449 of 999 (45%). IBD was confirmed in 282 of 449 (63%), but colonoscopy was normal in 143 of 449 (32%) of suspected IBD. Colonoscopy was performed for rectal bleeding in 197 of 999 (20%) of whom 141 of 197 (72%) were normal. There were 46 (5%) colonoscopies performed for recurrent abdominal pain, which were all normal. Our completion rate to the cecum and beyond was 521 of 999 (52%). Our perforation rate during the 10 years was 0.2%.Conclusions:Colonoscopy is a safe procedure in pediatrics; however, 39% of colonoscopies in this series were normal. Many of these could have been avoided by eliminating colonoscopy in patients with recurrent abdominal pain in the absence of other clinical features, conservative management with laxatives for those with fresh blood per rectum typical of anal fissures, and fecal calprotectin screening before endoscopy in patients with suspected IBD.

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