Introduction The National Institute of Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) first recommended a policy of H. pylori test and treat or empirical full dose proton pump inhibitor therapy for uninvestigated dyspepsia in 2004.1 Following an initial fall in demand for gastroscopy (OGD), there has been a 30% increase in the last five years.2 Whilst regarded as the gold standard, it is uncomfortable, costly, may require sedation and carries the risks of intubation. In an era when non-invasive tests are emerging, the role of OGD requires re-evaluation.
Methods Data from consecutive OGDs performed between September 2015 and January 2016 to investigate dyspepsia was analysed. We determined the percentage of patients in whom OGD ± biopsy changed management as defined by an approach other than the non-invasive NICE recommendations.1
Results 500 patients (39.8% male; mean age 58±16.1) underwent OGD for dyspepsia, some of whom also had dysphagia (6%), anaemia (4%), vomiting (4.2%) or suspected gastrointestinal (GI) bleeding (0.6%). 145 (29%) were sedated (midazolam (mean±SEM) 2.0 mg±1.0; fentanyl (when used) 50 mcg±23). 381 patients (76.2%) had abnormal endoscopy; 417 (83.4%) had biopsies taken (15.8% for histological assessment, 27.4% for rapid urease tests, 40.2% for both). Findings of uncertain relevance, or which could have been managed with empirical therapies, were seen in 299 patients (59.8%; including oesophagitis (n = 122), hiatus hernias (n = 178), gastric polyps (n = 34), gastritis (n = 236), gastric ulcers (n = 9), gastric erosions (n = 32), duodenitis (n = 40), duodenal ulcer (n = 1), duodenal erosions (n = 15) and a duodenal polyp (n = 1)). Diagnoses which would not have been appropriately managed by empirical therapies numbered 82 (16.4%). These included 71 (14.2%) patients with Barrett’s oesophagus (n = 39), oesophageal stricture (n = 2), oesophageal cancer (n = 1) and gastric cancer (n = 4) diagnosed at the time of endoscopy. An additional 11 (2.2%) diagnoses were made solely by histology, which included eosinophilic oesophagitis (n = 1), eosinophilic gastritis (n = 1), intestinal metaplasia (n = 3) and coeliac disease (n = 6).
Conclusion Diagnoses which alter management are made by endoscopy in only 14.2% of patients with dyspepsia. Although the majority of patients have biopsies taken, the added value increases the yield to only 16.4%. Non-invasive, cost-effective diagnostic strategies are needed to better guide patient management and select the minority of patients who need endoscopic biopsy or therapy.
Disclosure of Interest None Declared