Research is being conducted at the Chevy Chase Clinical Research facility in Chevy Chase, MD, on a device that can measure the amount of force applied to the colonoscope during a colonoscopy, in order to make a colonoscopy safer and less uncomfortable.

Dr. Louis Korman of Capital Digestive Care and Artann Laboratories received support and more than three million dollars in research grant money from the National Institutes of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases of the National Institutes of Health to develop such a device.

The Colonoscopy Force Monitor, which Korman’s team is developing and testing in collaboration with other physicians at Capital Digestive Care, Georgetown University, and the University of Pennsylvania and engineers at Artann Labs, is designed to monitor the amount of force that is used during a colonoscopy. It can be used as a training tool for physicians and may help establish standards for the amount of force needed and used during a colonoscopy leading to a safer and more comfortable patient experience. The device may help reduce the risk of perforating the colon, reduce the need for certain forms of sedation and increase the comfort level for the patient during and after the procedure.

Studies show the amount of force used to direct a colonoscope through the colon during a colonoscopy can vary greatly depending on the individual patient and the physician performing the procedure. Patients must be sedated for now because the application of force can be painful and can increase the risk of complications such as perforation.