Surveillance colonoscopy in Austria: Are we following the guidelines?
Abstract Background and study aim The European guidelines for quality assurance in colorectal cancer screening and diagnosis contain postpolypectomy surveillance recommendations. They recommend follow-up intervals depending on the findings at index colonoscopy, and divide patients into a low-, intermediate- or high-risk group. The aim of this study was to assess the adherence of Austrian endoscopists to the European guidelines and to determine whether sending a reminder letter resulted in better adherence. Methods A single reminder letter containing the guidelines was sent to all endoscopists who participated in the Certificate of Quality for Screening Colonoscopy program in Austria. Adherence was assessed before and after the letter had been sent. Factors associated with adherence were investigated. Results We found poor baseline adherence to the guidelines. After the reminder letter, the adherence slightly improved in the low-risk group, but did not change in the intermediate-risk or high-risk groups. An adenoma detection rate of at least 20 % was associated with higher adherence rates. Generally, internists and hospitals showed better adherence compared with surgeons and private practices, respectively, both before and after the reminder letter. Conclusion A single reminder letter was not enough to improve the poor adherence to the European postpolypectomy surveillance guidelines. Thus, future studies are required to identify and eliminate all factors responsible for nonadherence to postpolypectomy guidelines in order to reach the goal of a safe, effective, and cost-effective colorectal cancer prevention tool in the near future.
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