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Canadian Journal of Gastroenterology
Volume 22 (2008), Issue 3, Pages 243-246
Original Article

Unsedated Transnasal Endoscopy: A Canadian Experience in Daily Practice

Sarah Cho, Naveen Arya, Katherine Swan, Maria Cirocco, Gabor Kandel, Paul Kortan, and Norman Marcon

The Centre for Therapeutic Endoscopy and Endoscopic Oncology, Division of Gastroenterology, St Michael’s Hospital, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Received 11 September 2007; Accepted 17 October 2007

Copyright © 2008 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


BACKGROUND: Esophagogastroduodenoscopy (EGD) is the most frequently performed diagnostic procedure for upper gastrointestinal disorders. The procedure is routinely performed under conscious sedation in North America. A significant proportion of morbidity and mortality associated with EGD is related to hypoxia due to conscious sedation. The use of sedation is also associated with an increase in cost, loss of work on the day of endoscopy and the need for the patient to be accompanied home after the procedure. Transnasal endoscopy has advantages such as no sedation and less patient monitoring, nursing time and expenses than conventional per oral EGD.

OBJECTIVES: To assess the feasibility and acceptability of unsedated transnasal EGD in daily practice.

METHODS: Patients due to undergo EGD were given a choice of either unsedated transnasal EGD or per oral EGD with sedation. Patients who chose unsedated transnasal EGD had the procedure performed in the office by a senior gastroenterologist with experience in transnasal EGD. All procedures were performed using a small-calibre esophagogastroduodenoscope. All patients were surveyed using a patient satisfaction questionnaire, and were asked to give specific scores in terms of choking sensation, sore throat, nasal discomfort and abdominal discomfort. All variables were assessed by scores between 0 and 10, with 10 indicating the most severe degree of each variable. Any complications were also recorded.

RESULTS: Between March 2002 and August 2003, 231 patients underwent transnasal EGD. The median age of the patients was 57 years (range 15 to 87 years). Complete examinations were possible in 98% of patients. Patients reported a high degree of acceptability (mean score 6.6, range 1 to 10) and low degrees of choking sensation (mean 1.8, range 0 to 10), nasal discomfort (mean 1.7, range 0 to 10), sore throat (mean 0.8, range 0 to 9) and abdominal discomfort (mean 1.1, range 0 to 10). The only complications reported by the patients were epistaxis (n=2, 0.9%) and sinusitis (n=1, 0.4%). Some patients also reported transient light-headedness (n=12, 5%) and mucous discharge (n=2, 0.9%). When asked, 185 patients (88%) stated that they were willing to undergo the same procedure in the future if medically indicated. Of the 84 patients who had conventional EGD under conscious sedation in the past, 52 patients (62%) preferred transnasal EGD without sedation.

CONCLUSIONS: Transnasal EGD is generally well tolerated, feasible and safe. It can be performed with topical anesthesia in an outpatient setting. The low complication rate, high patient satisfaction and potential cost savings make transnasal endoscopy an attractive alternative to conventional EGD to screen patients for upper gastrointestinal tract diseases.