Impact of water exchange colonoscopy on serum sodium and potassium levels: An observational study

Joseph Leung, Rodelei Siao-Salera, Ovanes Abramyan, Surinder K Mann, Gregory Ward, Andrew Yen, Rebeck Gutierrez, Felix W. Leung

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Background Concerns over the hypothetical adverse effects of water absorption and the disturbance of serum sodium and potassium levels prompted a quality assurance evaluation of water exchange (WE) colonoscopy. Aim The purpose of this study was to evaluate the balance of water infused and suctioned in WE colonoscopy, and to quantify the acute impact on serum levels of sodium and potassium. Methods Prospectively collected qualitymonitoring data of patients undergoing screening and surveillance colonoscopy at the Sacramento Veterans Affairs Medical Center were analyzed. Measurements were made of volume infused and suctioned during, and blood samples drawn 10 min before the start of and 10 min after completion of WE colonoscopy. Outcome measures included volume of water infused and suctioned, and serum levels of sodium and potassium. Results A total of 140 patients (134M:6F), mean age of 59, underwent WE colonoscopy. Mean total volume of water infused was 1,839 mL. A negative balance of an average of 22 mLwas documented.Themean (standard deviation)values (inmeq/L) of serumlevels of sodium139.33 (2.27) and 139.28 (2.32), and potassium 3.86 (0.36) and 3.91 (0.39), before and after colonoscopy, respectively, showed no significant change. Conclusion The WE method allowed most of the water infused during colonoscopy to be recovered by suction at the completion of colonoscopy. Serum sodium and potassium levels did not change significantly within 10 min after completion. The WE method appears to be safe with minimal water retention and is devoid of acute fluctuations in serum levels of sodium and potassium.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)653-657
Number of pages5
JournalDigestive Diseases and Sciences
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2014


  • Colonoscopy
  • Colorectal cancer screening
  • Serum electrolytes
  • Water exchange

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gastroenterology
  • Physiology


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