Colonoscopy is the preferred method to screen for colorectal cancer. Several million screening, diagnostic and therapeutic colonoscopies are performed each year in U.S. hospitals and ambulatory surgery centers. Colonoscopy requires the examiner to inspect the colonic mucosal surface by applying a variable force to the shaft of a flexible tube to advance it through a series of stationary and movable colonic loops. The application of force to the colon and its anatomic attachments can be painful and excessive force can lead to perforation. Sedation/analgesia is frequently required to make the procedure comfortable. Studies suggest that there is significant variation in the forces applied and that these forces can be substantial. Although minimal standards for the number of colonoscopies and methods of preceptor assessments used to certify physicians in colonoscopy are defined, training measures remain predominantly subjective.
Colonoscopy Force Monitor (CFM) is a handheld force-measuring attachment mounted on the colonoscope shaft that provides a physician with a real-time feedback on the force and torque applied during colonoscopy. The CFM is designed to improve training of endoscopists and establish best practices for performing colonoscopy by quantitative characterization of expert skill. Artann has been developing the CFM in collaboration with Dr. Louis Korman, Metropolitan Gastroenterology Group and other investigators at Georgetown University, University of Pennsylvania, Montefiore Medical Center and VA Medical Center in Washington DC. This work is supported by a Phase II SBIR grant from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.
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