Researchers in the Oregon Health & Science University Digestive Health Center are first to report that screening people with chronic heartburn or pre-cancer of the esophagus in an office setting using a "skinny scope" is as accurate, less expensive and less risky than a traditional sedated screening in a procedure room and patients prefer it. The findings are published online and in print in this month's issue of the American Journal of Gastroenterology.
The study, led by principal investigator Blair A. Jobe, M.D., a surgeon in the OHSU Digestive Health Center and member of the OHSU Cancer Institute, found that study participants preferred unsedated, small-caliber upper endoscopy, commonly referred to as the skinny scope, to the standard screening method for upper digestive disease, sedated upper endoscopy.
Study participants in Jobe's Esophageal Care Clinic listed a number of reasons for preferring the skinny scope, including not having to undergo anesthesia, not missing a day of work and not having to arrange for transportation to and from home. But the best benefit, according to at least one study participant, was the ability to watch the entire procedure in real time on a color monitor and receive immediate feedback from the clinician.
"There was no pain. My wife and I watched the entire thing. I found it informative and appreciated not having to wait for the anesthesia to wear off to learn the results," said Dennis Murphy, 58, Tigard, Ore. Murphy was diagnosed with Barrett's esophagus, a precursor to cancer, four years ago. As part of the study protocol, he underwent both procedures on separate occasions. At the end of the study, he said he preferred the skinny scope and would request it at his next checkup.
With approximately 10 million Americans struggling with chronic heartburn, also known as GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease) a condition closely associated with the development of one of the most lethal forms of
Contact: Tamara Hargens
Oregon Health & Science University