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AIM: The increase in the average life led an increase of diseases, acute and chronic, not only cardiovascular and respiratory
system, but also gastrointestinal. Likewise we see an increase in neoplastic lesions, sometimes diagnosed in advanced stage of
disease, not susceptible to radical therapy. The purpose of this work is to evaluate the usefulness, reliability and security of
colonoscopy in elderly patients, age 75 years or more.
MATHERIALS END METHODS: We analysed 2407 colonoscopies, performed from January 2005 to December 2006 in Unit of
Digestive Endoscopy of Gastrointestinal Surgery (“Federico II” University of Naples) and in Unit of Digestive Endoscopy of
“Villa Maria Clinica” (Mirabella Eclano). Of these four hundred and sixty-nine patients (19.5%), 276 men and 139 women,
were 75 years old or more. Were considered indications to endoscopy, completeness of the examination, findings, presence of
any complications. In all patients were performed premedication with midazolam, 2,5-5 mg and floroglucina biidrata, 40-
80 mg. The patients were constantly monitored with pulsiossimetro.
RESULTS: The colonoscopy was completed in 432/469 patients (92%). In 19 cases (4%) there was a neoplastic stenosis; other
reasons for the failure of cecal intubation were the poor intestinalpreparation (2.5%) and intolerance of the patient (1.5%).
Were excluded patients in follow-up to previous surgery or polypectomy (33.5%). Other indications in the investigation were, in
descending order, abdominal pain (32.8%), presence of anaemia (22.4%), rectal bleeding (19.2%), diarrhea or constipation (
18.4%), presence of abdominal mass (7.2%). There were no complications observed, or local (perforation/ bleeding), or general
(cardio-respiratory or neurological). Most frequent findings were: diverticoular disease (34.4%), polyps (22.4%), cancer (12.8%),
find colitis also aspecific (10.4%), hemorrhoids (8.8%). In 11.2% of patients colonoscopy was negative.
CONCLUSION: The endoscopic examination of the gastrointestinal tract is now practiced daily in almost all hospitals. The
advanced age of patient, with the possible presence of diseases associated, is not, in our opinion, a controindication. Although
present in the literature trials that emphasize the possibility of a higher incidence of complications in elderly patients, our
experience shows how this control is quite safe, if executed in appropriate and correct manner, thanks also to appropriate
preparation / sedation and monitoring of the patient. Compared to other diagnostic methods, such as air contrast barium
enema, the computed tomography and virtual colonoscopy, “traditional” colonoscopy has the undoubted, and decisive advantage
of being able to run biopsies, and complete removal of the lesion, as in the case of polypectomy
In our case we have seen a high number of elderly patients, well 469/2407, equivalent to 19.5%. A neoplastic lesion was
found in 165 patients (35.2%) and of these over 80% has successfully received curative treatment (surgery or polipectomy).