Anesthesiologists play a key role in the detection of polyps discovered during a colonoscopy.
Dr. Brooks C. Cash of the National Naval Medical Center presented findings from a large retrospective study of over 4.5 million index colonoscopies. Dr. Cash and his colleagues reviewed outcomes from procedures performed between 2001 and 2010. Approximately one third of the procedures had an anesthesiologist present.
The study showed a statistically significant higher rate of polyp detection and rate of diagnosis of colorectal cancer when an anesthesiologist was present during the procedure. More individuals were diagnosed within three years of the index colonoscopy if an anesthesiologist was present, compared to procedures performed without the presence of the specialist.
The study findings are similar to those reported in two studies completed in 2005 by Somnia's CEO and President, Dr. Marc Koch, and CMO and Executive Vice President, Dr. Robert Goldstein. Drs. Koch and Goldstein, and several colleagues, conducted two separate studies of the medical records of individuals who had undergone office-based colonoscopies by gastroenterologists. Results from both studies concluded the delegation of anesthesia to an anesthesiologist resulted in improved colon polyp detection. The findings were presented at the 2005 Digestive Disease Week meeting which discussed the latest scientific developments in gastroenterology, hepatology, endoscopy and GI surgery.
In some facilities, anesthesiologists are only present during colonoscopy if the patients have added medical risks, but are not present for those patients with only average risks. The results of these studies could possibly change that viewpoint.