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Anesthesia Boosts Colonoscopy Price Tag

Last Updated: December 29, 2011.

In asymptomatic adults who undergo screening colonoscopies, the use of anesthesia significantly increases the cost of the procedure and is most likely to be ordered by a surgeon, according to research published in the January issue of Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology.

THURSDAY, Dec. 29 (HealthDay News) -- In asymptomatic adults who undergo screening colonoscopies, the use of anesthesia significantly increases the cost of the procedure and is most likely to be ordered by a surgeon, according to research published in the January issue of Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology.

Vijay S. Khiani, M.D., of the Yale School of Medicine in New Haven, Conn., and colleagues retrospectively analyzed data from 16,268 adults in the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results Medicare dataset to identify patients without cancer who received a colonoscopy from July 2001 through 2006. Logistic regression was used to study the relationship of patient and provider characteristics and anesthesiologist involvement.

According to the researchers, 17.2 percent of screening colonoscopies involved an anesthesiologist, with frequency of anesthesiologist involvement increasing from 11.0 percent in July 2001 to 23.4 percent in 2006. Surgeons were most likely to involve an anesthesiologist, while primary care providers were the least likely. Anesthesiologist involvement increased cost of each screening colonoscopy by roughly 20 percent.

"An increase in the involvement of anesthesiologists has significantly increased the cost of screening colonoscopies. Studies are needed to assess the effects of anesthesiologists on risks and benefits of colonoscopy, to determine the most safe and cost-effective approaches," the authors write.

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