Colonoscopy in elderly: feasibility, tolerance and indications: about 901 cases.

La Tunisie medicale

PubMedID: 22179921

Houissa F, Kchir H, Bouzaidi S, Salem M, Debbeche R, Trabelsi S, Moussa A, Said Y, Najjar T. Colonoscopy in elderly: feasibility, tolerance and indications: about 901 cases. Tunis Med. 2011;89(11):848-52.
Colonoscopy is the standard investigation for colonic disease, but clinicians often are reluctant to refer elderly patients for colonoscopy because of a perception of higher risk and a high rate of incomplete examinations.

To evaluate feasibility and tolerance of this investigation in elderly and to review the most frequent indications of colonoscopy in these patients.

A pilot retrospective study including 901 patients from January 2005 to December 2009; divided into two groups. Group (I) included patients 75 years old and more, group (II) included patients 45 years old or less. All those patients underwent colonoscopy at the gastroenterology department of Charles Nicole hospital.

The 1st group included 231 patients, and the 2nd group included 670 one. A past history of colorectal cancer was more frequent in the group I (33.3% versus 9.90%; p<0.05) however history of chronic inflammatory bowel disease was more frequent in group II (0 versus 40.6%; p<0.05). The main indication of colonoscopy was constipation in group II (6.1% versus 27%; p<0.05) and chronic diarrhoea in group I (42.9% versus 16.4%; p<0.05). Bowel preparation was poor in 30.4% cases of the group I and 12.9% of group II (p<0.05). The tolerance was similar in the two groups. The incomplete colonoscopy rate was higher in the group I (38.3% versus 23.4%; p<0.05). The most frequent cause of colonoscopy interruption was the poor preparation in group I and the bad tolerance in group II. Diverticular disease, polyps and colorectal cancers prevailed in group I, whereas inflammatory bowel disease was current in group II.

In elderly patients, colonoscopy is safe, well tolerated and offers a good diagnostic yield. Its non completion was essentially due to the poor preparation. Sedation did not seem essential. The optimisation of results of colonoscopy requires an improvement of quality preparation.