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April 24, 1967


JAMA. 1967;200(4):328. doi:10.1001/jama.1967.03120170100022

Many mechanical diagnostic and therapeutic procedures used in medicine involve risks to the patient. The procedural risks involved in endoscopy vary according to the type of instrument, the condition of the patient, the area investigated, and the ability and experience of the endoscopist. A similar statement could be made in reference to esophageal surgery or any other surgical procedure. Even when all factors are favorable for an uncomplicated outcome, a definite risk is present. Imponderables do occur, sometimes with devastating consequences.

This emphasizes the need for careful selection of patients, proper training or supervision of the person performing the procedure, and improvement of techniques and instruments for esophagoscopy. On the other hand, advances made in the last 20 years in the treatment of esophageal disease are in part due to earlier diagnosis made possible by esophagoscopy done early and readily. Regardless of all precautions, certain complications will occur.

In a