Table 2

Complications of colonoscopy and flexible sigmoidoscopy

Rate/1000 proceduresNo of cases per year in a UK national screening study of once only screening at age 60 years
CFCF
C, colonoscopy; F, flexible sigmoidoscopy.
Some of the data are extrapolated from the FS trial19; colonoscopy rates from standard texts.
Assuming 572 000 people are aged 60 years in the UK; 50% responding to an invitational letter (enrichment), subsequently being eligible, with 60% actually attending the screening test. A total of 171 600 cases would be undergoing the screening test at the age of 60 years; 5% of those with flexible sigmoidoscopy would need colonoscopic intervention (8580); 5% of colonoscopies would need completion double contrast barium enema (8580).
Respiratory depression58580
Severe haemorrhage30.351451
Perforation10.0251714
Mortality0.30.155125