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Risk of GI Endoscopy Complications Higher than Previously Reported

John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media, October 27, 2010

Almost half of the visits were due to abdominal pain, 12% to gastrointestinal tract bleeding and 11% involved chest pain. Older patients were more likely to have complications, the study found.

Most complications were minor but the cost of follow-up care was not. The average cost per ED visit following endoscopy was $1,403 and the average cost of hospitalization for post-procedure complications was $10,123, the study reports.

The findings may help guide how doctors counsel patients following one of these procedures. "We've done a lot over the years to mitigate the risks of bleeding and perforation, and rightly so," Leffler says. "Now [that] we know of the underlying iceberg of minor complications, we can really look at those because they're a significant burden to patients and the healthcare system."

John Commins is a senior editor with HealthLeaders Media.

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