Background and study aims: Patients with Barrett's esophagus are recommended to undergo regular surveillance with upper gastrointestinal endoscopy, an invasive procedure that may cause anxiety, pain, and discomfort. We assessed to what extent patients perceived this procedure as burdensome.
Patients and methods: A total of 192 patients with Barrett's esophagus were asked to fill out questionnaires at 1 week and immediately before endoscopy, and at 1 week and 1 month afterwards. Four variables were assessed: (i) pain and discomfort experienced during endoscopy; (ii) symptoms; (iii) psychological burden, i. e., anxiety, depression and distress levels (Hospital Anxiety and Depression scale, Impact of Event Scale); and (iv) perceived risk of developing adenocarcinoma.
Results: At least one questionnaire was returned by 180 patients (94%),151 completed all four (79%). Of all patients, only 14% experienced the endoscopy as painful. However, 59% reported it to be burdensome. Apart from an increase in throat ache (47% after endoscopy versus 12% before), the procedure did not cause physical symptoms. Patients' anxiety, depression, and distress levels were significantly increased in the week before endoscopy compared with the week after. Patients perceiving their risk of developing adenocarcinoma as high reported higher levels of psychological distress and that the procedure was a greater burden.
Conclusions: Upper gastrointestinal endoscopy is burdensome for many patients with Barrett's esophagus and causes moderate distress. Perception of a high risk of adenocarcinoma may increase distress and the burden experienced from the procedure. The benefits of endoscopic surveillance for patients with Barrett's esophagus should be weighed against its drawbacks, including the short-term burden for patients.,
Department of Gastroenterology & Hepatology

Kruijshaar, M., Kerkhof, M., Siersema, P., Steyerberg, E., Homs, M., Essink-Bot, M.-L., … Moll, F. C. P. (2006). The burden of upper gastrointestinal endoscopy in patients with Barrett's esophagus. Endoscopy, 38(9), 873–878. doi:10.1055/s-2006-944613