Decreasing Patient Discomfort and Pain During GI Procedures: Q&A With Dr. Ralph McKibbin of Allegheny Regional Endoscopy Center
Q: What type of data is your center collecting?
Dr. Ralph McKibbin: Currently, our endoscopy center is in the process of collecting data [on the levels of pain for] patients who underwent procedures with carbon dioxide to inflate the intestine and patients who underwent procedures [using air to inflate the intestine]. We should be finished with this study in the beginning of next year.
Q: Why did your endoscopy center decide to measure the level of pain and discomfort associated with use of carbon dioxide to inflate the intestine?
RM: There is medical literature and data from group quality programs showing that inflating the intestine with carbon dioxide can result in improved levels of comfort and quicker recoveries following GI/endoscopic procedures. Even though the procedure time is about the same if you use carbon dioxide, data show that there is a marked difference in how quickly the patient can get up after the procedure and move around without feeling pain or discomfort. There's a benefit in looking at other providers' experiences [prior to implementing change] instead of trying to reinvent the wheel. We are doing the study to validate this change in our procedure.
Q: What other added benefits are there in using carbon dioxide during procedures to inflate the intestine?
RM: Since patients generally don't feel as much pain or discomfort and experience quicker recoveries, this helps reduce the number of post-operative evaluations patients need in traditional circumstances. Patients occasionally come in because air can get trapped in the intestine, causing pain. This calls for an evaluation and sometimes an x-ray. However, carbon dioxide escapes 150 times faster than just air. Consequently, there is a less frequent need for post-operative evaluations, and a reduction in disruptions to daily patient flow and overall healthcare costs.
Learn more about Allegheny Regional Endoscopy Center.
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