Background Urgent endoscopy is indicated for suspected upper gastrointestinal malignancy. However, there is limited evidence on the age threshold for performing urgent endoscopy in uncomplicated dyspepsia (that is, without alarm features).
Aim To quantify the risk of missing upper gastrointestinal malignancy within Scotland, if the age threshold for urgent endoscopy in uncomplicated dyspepsia was increased from 45 to 55 years.
Methods Analysis of data collected prospectively by the Scottish Audit of Gastric and Oesophageal Cancer. 'Alarm' features at presentation were defined as dysphagia, weight loss, gastrointestinal bleeding, anaemia, vomiting, history of gastric surgery and history of peptic ulcer disease.
Results Of the 3293 patients diagnosed with upper gastrointestinal malignancy, 290 (8.8%) patients were < 55 years of age. Twenty-one of the patients aged < 55 years had no alarm features (0.64% of all patients); 12 were aged 45-55 years and nine were aged < 45 years. Only two patients (one aged < 45 years) underwent potentially curative surgery.
Conclusion Upper gastrointestinal malignancy is uncommon under 55 years of age and most of the patients present with alarm features. Raising the age threshold for endoscopy for new-onset uncomplicated dyspepsia from 45 to 55 years would not impact adversely on the diagnosis or outcome of upper gastrointestinal malignancy.
- UNCOMPLICATED DYSPEPSIA