Study: Unsedated Screening for Esophageal Disease is Safe

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OAK BROOK, Ill.—Researchers recently reported that unsedated transnasal endoscopy is a feasible, safe, and well-tolerated method to screen for esophageal disease in a primary care population. This study is the largest reported experience with transnasal endoscopy in the United States. The study appears in the May issue of GIE: Gastrointestinal Endoscopy, the monthly peer-reviewed scientific journal of the American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy (ASGE).

Esophageal cancer is the most rapidly increasing type of neoplasia in terms of incidence in the United States over the last three decades. Endoscopic screening for esophageal neoplasia can identify patients who might benefit from early intervention for precancerous lesions. Unsedated transnasal endoscopy, also called transnasal esophagoscopy (TNE), may provide an efficient and accurate endoscopic assessment for esophageal neoplasia with fewer risks and less cost as compared with conventional upper endoscopy.

Standard upper endoscopy allows for the identification of precancerous lesions or cancer of the esophagus, and is commonly performed with conscious sedation and occasionally with the patient under general anesthesia.

TNE uses ultrathin endoscopes that are passed through the patient’s nose into the esophagus for performance of an upper endoscopy; typically the examination is carried out at least to the level of the proximal-to-mid stomach, depending on the height of the patient. Often, TNE can be performed without sedation through the use of topical anesthetics sprayed into the patient’s nose and/or mouth. 

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