Complications from radiographer-performed double contrast barium enemas
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AIM: To determine the types and rates of complications encountered by radiographers when performing double contrast barium enemas (DCBE). MATERIALS AND METHODS: Seven hundred and forty-one questionnaires were posted to radiographers who had in the last 5 years attended one of the biannual barium enema training courses. RESULTS: Of 741 questionnaires posted 407 (54.9%) were returned completed. Approximately 348,000 barium enema examinations had been performed. Fifty-nine radiographers reported 89 complications, including 13 intra-peritoneal and 11 extra-peritoneal perforations. There were five deaths (mortality 1 in 70,000). Deaths resulted from two of 24 (10%) perforations, two of 45 (5%) cardiac events and one cerebrovascular accident that occurred during an examination. CONCLUSIONS: Radiographers have been regularly performing DCBEs for almost a decade. The mortality for radiographer-performed DCBE is similar to that previously reported for radiologists, although a slightly higher rate of perforation is noted and so this is an area where radiographer training should be targeted.
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