Anaesthetic choice in the colposcopy clinic: a retrospective analysis of routinely collected data

Dawn Swancutt, David Luesley, Joanne Eastaugh, Sue Wilson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

7 Citations (Scopus)


OBJECTIVES: Current guidelines recommend that less than 20% of treatments in colposcopy clinics should be under general anaesthetic. The objective of this study was to increase the evidence base for guidelines by establishing the proportion of women receiving general anaesthesia for treatment, determining the predictors of and reasons recorded for general anaesthetic use. DESIGN: Retrospective analysis of routinely collected data. SETTING: NHS Trust in the West Midlands. PARTICIPANTS: Colposcopy patients; January 2003 to March 2005. METHODS: Logistic regression of factors associated with general anaesthetic choice. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Proportion of women treated under general anaesthesia, factors associated with anaesthetic choice and reasons recorded for general anaesthetic use. RESULTS: About 5.4% (204/3777) of new appointments for colposcopy received treatment under general anaesthetic. Of women requiring treatment, 20% (204/1003) received general anaesthetic. General anaesthetic was more likely to be used when the woman required loop excision (OR = 3.63, 95% CI 2.11-6.24) and less likely when directed biopsy was performed (OR = 0.11, 95% CI 0.01-0.80), when the patient appointment date was after introduction of new guidelines (OR = 0.37, 95% CI 0.24-0.56) or when the assessment visit was with a nonconsultant status doctor rather than nurse or consultant (OR = 0.70, 95% CI 0.50-0.97). General anaesthetic use varied between colposcopists ranging from 0 to 16.5% of new patients seen. Woman's choice was the most commonly specified reason for the use of general anaesthetic. CONCLUSIONS: The proportion of colposcopy patients treated under general anaesthetic is 20%, within guideline limits. Substantial variation in general anaesthetic rates between colposcopists was observed, and further investigation is required to discover the reason for this.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)646-652
Number of pages7
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2008


  • cervical screening
  • patient preference
  • colposcopy
  • general anaesthetic


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