Open-access endoscopy of the upper gastrointestinal tract: Is it indicated and efficient?

R. Oren, O. Shulman-Manor, R. Stalnikowicz, Z. Ackermand, R. Eliakim*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Open-access endoscopy has recently gained popularity in referring patients for endoscopic procedures. Retrospective (looking into patients' medical files) and prospective studies (using 2 different questionnaires, and evaluating a selection system) were conducted, comparing the efficacy of open-access endoscopy for patients referred by either family practitioners or gastroenterologists. In the retrospective study, 673 patients (mean age 48.8 years, male - 58%) underwent upper gastrointestinal endoscopy. The main indications for upper endoscopy were epigastric pain (71%), heartburn (18%) and vomiting (13%). Severe endoscopic findings were not different between the study groups. Normal or mildly abnormal findings were diagnosed in 75% of patients in both groups. In the prospective study, 361 patients were referred for upper endoscopy (mean age 50.2 years, male - 58%). Although there were significantly (ρ<O.Ol) fewer normal and more mild endoscopic findings in the patients referred by gastroenterologists, as compared with family practitioners, there was no difference in the clinically significant (severe) endoscopic findings. Previous ulcer, smoking, gender, age and nocturnal pain were predictive for severe endoscopic findings. There was a linear correlation between the severity of the scoring system and the endoscopic find findings. The results of the present study, which reveal nonsignificant differences in the indications for and the findings of endoscopies, indicate that selection of patients for endoscopy can be safely done by family practitioners. In order to reduce the number of referred patients with no gastrointestinal pathology, a better scoring system to detect at-risk patients should be developed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)771-776
Number of pages6
JournalIsrael Journal of Medical Sciences
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 1997
Externally publishedYes


  • Family physician
  • Gastroscopy
  • Open access
  • Referral


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