Endoscopy 2003; 35(8): 647-651
DOI: 10.1055/s-2003-41523
Original Article
© Georg Thieme Verlag Stuttgart · New York

A Prospective Randomized Comparison of Unsedated Ultrathin Versus Standard Esophagogastroduodenoscopy in Routine Outpatient Gastroenterology Practice: Does It Work Better through the Nose?

B.  Birkner 1 , N.  Fritz 2 , W.  Schatke 1 , J.  Hasford 2
  • 1 Gastroenterological Practice, Munich, Germany
  • 2 Dept. of Biometry and Epidemiology, University of Munich, Germany
Further Information

Publication History

Submitted 16 January 2003

Accepted after Revision 25 February 2003

Publication Date:
20 August 2003 (online)

Background and Study Aims: In an outpatient gastroenterological practice setting, highly effective diagnostic procedures and patient satisfaction play an important role. Ultrathin endoscopy in unsedated patients has been shown to be more cost-effective and time-efficient in comparison with standard endoscopy. A prospective randomized study was carried out in unsedated patients to compare performance, feasibility, safety, and patient tolerance between ultrathin transnasal (UT), ultrathin oral (UO), and standard (SO) esophagogastroduodenoscopy (EGD).
Patients and Methods: A total of 200 of 600 eligible patients consented to participate in the study, and were randomly assigned to undergo UT, UO, or SO. Patients reported their tolerance of the procedure (anxiety, pain, gagging, and overall satisfaction; Likert scale 1-10), and the endoscopists reported the effectiveness of the procedure (handling, picture quality, and overall performance; Likert scale 1-10). Statistics were calculated using the Kruskal-Wallis test.
Results: After randomization, 65, 67, and 68 patients were allocated to the UT, UO, and SO groups, respectively. Failure to achieve complete EGD by the intended route occurred in 14 patients (22 %) in the UT group. Compared to the SO group, patients in the UT and UO groups rated anxiety before the procedure as being more intense - median score (10 % quantile estimate; 90 % quantile estimate): UT, 2.0 (1.0; 4.0); UO, 2.0 (1.0; 4.0); SO, 0.0 (0.0; 2.0); p < 0.0001), whereas SO patients experienced a higher level of anxiety during the procedure (P < 0.0001). Pain during insertion of the endoscope was the least intense in the UO group: UT, 2.0 (1.0; 5.0); UO, 1.0 (1.0; 3.0); SO, 2.0 (1.0; 4.0); P < 0.001). Gagging during insertion was more pronounced in the UO group: UT, 2.0 (1.0; 4.0); UO, 3.0 (1.0; 7.0); SO, 2.0 (1.0; 5.0); P < 0.01). The patients’ score for the overall assessment was better in the SO group (P < 0.0001). The endoscopists’ overall assessment for ultrathin EGD was poorer than for standard EGD: UT, 3.0 (2.0; 5.0); UO, 3.0 (2.0; 5.0); SO, 2.0 (1.0; 3.0); P < 0.0001).
Conclusions: Ultrathin endoscopy through both the transnasal and oral routes has limited use in routine outpatient practice. Techniques for reducing pain and gagging may improve patient tolerance. Further technical improvements are needed to allow routine implementation.


B. Birkner, M. D.

Einsteinstrasse 1 · 81675 Munich · Germany

Fax: + 49-89-479420 ·

Email: [email protected]