Not doing a specific diet to prepare for a colonoscopy has no implications on the results

Not doing a specific diet to prepare for a colonoscopy has no implications on the results 1080 608 Mireia Córcoles
  • A study led by the I3PT finds that not following a restrictive diet before a colonoscopy does not affect quality or efficiency parameters, and improves tolerability and patient satisfaction
  • This finding has significant clinical implications as it may improve colonoscopy acceptance and participation in the colorectal cancer screening program
  • The results also have a big impact on test scheduling management, as it allows for much more flexibility and could improve unit efficiency

A scientific study has revealed new results on the preparation of patients to undergo a colonoscopy. The research, published in the journal Endoscopy International Open, has shown that not following a restrictive diet before a colonoscopy does not imply an inferiority in the results of the preparation or in the quality of the test

The clinical trial led by Salvador Machlab, digestologist and researcher at the Parc Taulí Research and Innovation Institute (I3PT), has confirmed that patients can follow your usual diet before taking the test and also achieve an adequate cleaning of the intestine.

Traditionally, preparation for a colonoscopy involved a three-day low-fiber diet along with an evacuating solution. This practice is considered as the most difficult part of the intervention for patients as it has a negative impact on their quality of life and, often, it discourages them from repeating the test – with the risk it entails when detecting and preventing possible colorectal cancer, according to Machlab.

Of fet, a previous study led by this same researcher already showed that following a low-residue diet for a single day – instead of three days – did not compromise the quality of colon cleansing, nor the test results. However, this newly published study goes one step further and finds that this diet can be completely avoided and offer a better tolerable option for the patient.

The results of the study –selected as an article of special relevance at the Congress of the Spanish Association of Gastroenterology and the European Society of Gastrointestinal Endoscopy– are very positive, since the success rate in cleaning the colon has been higher than 95%, that is to say that in 95 out of 100 patients, the risk of not detecting significant injuries due to the presence of faeces in colonoscopy is very low.

"Cleanliness is the most important factor in performing a quality colonoscopy and with the free diet the quality or effectiveness indicators of the test have not been compromised", explains the researcher, who adds: "In the future it could involve a change in preparation protocols and clinical guidelines”.

The multicenter study included a sample of 582 people aged 50 to 69 participating in the colon cancer screening program.

Machlab explains that "even if it is a selected sample, it is a good starting point to validate the results with new studies and make them more generalizable".

Benefits for clinical practice

La growing demand for colonoscopies has led to a progressive increase in the care burden of the endoscopic units. In this sense, the study also provides positive results regarding the management of the interventions, since the elimination of the dietary restriction could allow more testing flexibility by simplifying the preparation protocol and improving the patient experience.

Study reference

Machlab, Salvador et al. "Restrictive diets are unnecessary for colonoscopy: Non-inferiority randomized trial." Endoscopy International Open Vol. 12,3 E352-E360. March 7 2024, doi: 10.1055/a-2256-5356

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