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The effect of oral intake during the immediate pre-colonoscopy time period on volume depletion in patients who receive sodium picosulfate

Department of Anaesthesia, St George Hospital, Sydney, New South Wales


Sodium picosulfate, used in combination with magnesium oxide and citric acid for bowel cleansing, can result in dehydration. We investigated whether enhanced carbohydrate fluid intake pre-colonoscopy could mitigate this effect. We enrolled 398 elective colonoscopy patients in a prospective, controlled, single-blinded study. The control group (n=194) fasted routinely (minimum seven hours) whilst the treatment group (n=197) drank 1,200 ml carbohydrate solution leading up to admission (up until two hours pre-colonoscopy). On admission a patient survey was completed, and urine specific gravity obtained. Supine blood pressure and pulse rate were measured, and repeated within three minutes of standing. The carbohydrate group had reduced symptoms and signs of dehydration, including thirst (34% versus 65%, P <0.001), dry mouth (45% versus 59%, P=0.008), dizziness (10% versus 20%, P=0.010), lower mean urine specific gravity (1.007 versus 1.017, P <0.001), lower incidence of orthostatic hypotension (2.6% versus 11%, P <0.001), and lower mean erect pulse rate (78 versus 81 /minute, P=0.047). The postural change in systolic blood pressure was less in the treatment group (mean -0.4 mmHg, median -1 mmHg [interquartile range, IQR -7 to 7]) than in the control group (mean -4.1 mmHg, median -1 mmHg [IQR -12 to 3], P=0.028). These findings indicate that hydration with carbohydrate solution in patients taking sodium picosulfate has clinical benefit.

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