Putting the 10-year follow-up colonoscopy guideline to the test: 5 things to know

In a recent study published in the journal Gastroenterology researchers put forth the idea that the 10-year interval recommendation between colonoscopy screenings for average risk patients can have negative results. The researchers set out to determine the outcomes for repeat colonoscopies performed within less than 10 years after the initial screening.

The researchers gathered data from 69 gastroenterology centers including 264,184 asymptomatic patients who underwent screening colonoscopy between 2000 and 2006; 11.9 percent of patients underwent a repeat colonoscopy within less than 10 years. Of the patients:

•    15.7 percent had the procedure due to average risk screening
•    30.1 percent had a family history of colon polyps or cancer
•    31.2 percent had bleeding
•    11.8 percent had GI symptoms
•    5.5 percent had a positive result from a fecal occult blood test

The researchers found that the incidence of large polyps within one to five years after baseline colonoscopy was 3.1 percent and 3.7 percent within five to 10 years. They concluded that repeat colonoscopies within less than 10 years were only beneficial when the baseline examination was compromised. Patients who had no polyps and adequate examinations still fall within the 10-year follow-up guideline.

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