Study: Positive Cologuard test creates longer colonoscopies — 5 things to know

A study in Gastroenterology says colonoscopies take longer when physicians knew the patient had a positive stool DNA test, like Cologuard.

After previous studies showed that performing a colonoscopy for a positive imaging test led to longer colonoscopy procedure times, researchers examined whether that would hold true for Cologuard, a stool-based DNA test.

Researchers evaluated colonoscopies from 172 patients with known positive Cologuard tests and 72 patients with positive Cologuard tests who also underwent blinded colonoscopies. It was a single-center study.

Here's what they found.

1. In the unblinded group, polyp detection was at 78 percent versus 60 percent for the blinded group.

2. The percentage of patients with sessile serrated polyps or conventional adenoma was 70 percent for the unblinded group versus 53 percent for the blinded.

3. Slightly raised lesions in the right colon were more frequent in the unblinded than the blinded.

4. Medium withdrawal time was 19 minutes to 13 minutes in the unblinded group.

5. The researchers concluded the data "indicates that colonoscopist behavior probably changes when the indication for colonoscopy is a positive Cologuard test." The researchers believe the same effect would be seen with any positive fecal immunochemical tests, and that the results suggest a "reevaluation of the work associated with colonoscopy for a positive screening test."

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