Background and study aims: There are no definite guidelines regarding colonoscopic evaluation for the indication of constipation, a common gastrointestinal complaint. The aim of our study was to determine the risk of finding significant lesions in patients undergoing colonoscopy for the indication of constipation alone compared with constipation with another indication or average-risk screening. Patients and methods: A retrospective review of the Clinical Outcomes Research Initiative database was carried out for colonoscopies undertaken between 1 January 2000 and 30 June 2003. A total of 41775 index colonoscopies performed for the indications of average-risk screening, constipation only or constipation with another indication were identified. Logistic regression analyses were performed for constipation alone versus constipation with another indication, and for constipation alone versus average-risk screening. Results: Constipation alone did not show any increased risk of significant findings on colonoscopy. Constipation and the presence of another indication, however, had a statistically significant increased risk of a significant finding on colonoscopy. The indication of constipation alone had a lower risk of significant findings on colonoscopy compared with average-risk screening. Variations in the definition of constipation used was a limitation of the study. Conclusions: Colonoscopy for constipation alone has a lower yield for significant findings compared with average-risk screening and constipation with another indication; hence, colonoscopy should not be done for constipation alone.
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