Adequacy of preparation for barium enema among elderly outpatients

R. M. Grad, A. M. Clarfield, M. Rosenbloom, M. Perrone

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4 Scopus citations

Abstract

Objective: To determine whether outpatients 75 years of age or older have a higher rate of inadequate bowel preparation for barium enema and of complications associated with the preparation and the test than patients aged 55 to 74 years. Design: Cross-sectional survey. Setting: Radiology department in a teaching hospital. Patients: Patients 55 years or older referred for a barium enema from March to August 1988. Outcome measures: All films were reviewed independently by a study radiologist blind to the staff radiologist's report. Patients were interviewed by telephone within several days after the test to assess the occurrence of problems during the preparation or the test. Main results: Of the 213 patients assessed 72 were excluded: 43 refused to participate or could not be contacted, 16 had previously undergone colonic surgery, and 13 were excluded for other reasons. The remaining 141 patients were separated into three age groups: those 55 to 64 years (46 patients), those 65 to 74 (47) and those 75 or older (48). In 104 cases (74%) the bowel had been prepared adequately; there was no significant difference between the three groups with regard to the adequacy of preparation. The incidence of problems reported by the patients did not differ significantly between the groups. Conclusions: Outpatients aged 75 years or more are no more likely than those aged 55 to 74 to have problems with bowel preparation or the barium enema itself. Age should not be a criterion for exclusion from barium enema. To try to lower the rate of poor bowel preparation clinicians and radiologists should consider counselling patients more carefully about the importance of proper preparation. Also, the current method of preparation could be examined to determine whether simple changes would significantly improve colon cleanliness.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1257-1261
Number of pages5
JournalCMAJ
Volume144
Issue number10
StatePublished - 28 Aug 1991
Externally publishedYes

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