< p>It’s indisputable that colonoscopy screening procedures save lives. If detected early, abnormal cells can be removed before they even become cancerous, with small to no chance of a reoccurrence. Yet, in the later stages of , the five-year survival rates can drop to as low as 7% if left unchecked. But, recent research has prompted concerns that some of the colonoscopy prep drugs can severely hurt the kidneys. Oral preparations made with sodium phosphate (including prescription Visicol tablets and over-the-counter Fleet-Phosphosoda) have caused at least 21 cases of acute kidney failure, which led to the need for transplants or permanent dialysis. The elderly, heart attack sufferers and people on high blood pressure/hypertension drugs like ACE inhibitors are at considerable high risk of colonoscopy complications, researchers wrote in the November issue of the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology.
Most side effects of colonoscopy procedures are mild. Prior to the procedure, colonoscopy prep must be done by taking medication that flushes the system out. Individuals will need to take off work and remain close to the restroom the preceding day. Some people experience nausea, itchiness and lightheadedness from the sedative. Following the 20-minute procedure, individuals will need to stay at the clinic or 30 to 50 minutes of on-site recovery. Cramping, abdominal pain and vomiting occasionally occur, but the majority of patients report no discomfort at all.
In a 2005-2006 study, 110 patients in Chapel Hill, North Carolina were questioned about the side effects from their colonoscopy procedures. Of the 110, 17% of the patients reported side effects from their screening colonoscopy process, which included abdominal pain, cramping, vomiting, lightheadedness, sharp pains in the right hip and fatigue. On average, people spent 21 hours prepping for the procedure, which involved 16.5 hours flushing their system, 0.8 hours traveling, 1.4 hours in the waiting room, 12 minutes undergoing sedation, 20 minutes for their colonoscopy procedure and 47 minutes of on-site recovery.
“Overall, the risks are quite low,” Joan L. Warren from the National Institute says of colonoscopy procedures. “But, there are some groups of people for whom the risk was significantly elevated.” She added that older patients with a history of strokeheart failure, high blood pressure and atrial fibrillation should be cautioned about potential colonoscopy risks. Warren added, “For people 85 and over, risk of serious complications is more than twice that of people 66 to 69. For people 80 and over, the risk is about 50% greater. Somebody who is older and not in fantastic health might benefit from a fecal occult blood test instead; if the result is positive then a colonoscopy may be needed.”