A blinded clinical trial comparing conventional cleansing enema, Pico-salax and Golytely for barium enema bowel preparation

Clinical Radiology
A K LaiS C Chan


An evaluator-blinded randomized clinical trial was undertaken to assess the effectiveness and patient acceptance of three bowel cleansing regimens: conventional cleansing enema, Pico-salax and Golytely. One hundred and fifty patients, referred for barium enema examination, were allocated to one of the three regimens. Both the radiographers and the radiologists did not know the method of preparation. Radiographers were requested to enter the patients' data, the number of bowel openings, the patients' comments of the preparation and side effects. Films were reviewed independently by two experienced radiologists for the degree of bowel cleanliness and quality of barium coating. The mean (standard deviation) of bowel opening frequency for the cleansing enema, Pico-Salax and Golytely were 3.6(4.4), 8.3(4.8) and 7.1(4.2), respectively, with less bowel opening in the cleansing enema. There was less nausea associated with the cleansing enema (P = 0.006), more vomiting with Golytely (P = 0.008), less abdominal fullness with Pico-salax (P = 0.0006), less anorectal irritation with Golytely (P = 0.025), and no difference in the abdominal pain amongst three groups. There was no statistically significant difference in the number of bowel ope...Continue Reading


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