High resolution anoscopy (HRA) examination is regarded as the best method for the management of anal high grade squamous intraepithelial lesions to prevent anal squamous carcinoma. However, little is known about the acceptability of this procedure. This analysis looks at patient experience of HRA examination and ablative treatment under local anaesthetic.
Patients took part in anonymised feedback of their experience immediately after their HRA examinations and/or treatments. A standard questionnaire was used that included assessment of pain and overall satisfaction scores as well as willingness to undergo future HRA examinations.
Four hundred four (89.4%) responses were received and all responses were analysed. The group consisted of 119 females (29.4%) and 261 males (64.6%) with median age of 45 years (IQR = 19) and 45 years (IQR = 21) respectively, and included 58 new cases, 53 treatment cases and 202 surveillance cases. 158 patients (39.1%) had at least one biopsy during their visits. The median pain score was 2 [Inter Quartile Range (IQR) 3] on a visual analogue scale of 0 to 10, where 0 indicated no pain / discomfort and 10 indicated severe pain. The median pain score was 2 (IQR 2) in men and 4 (IQR = 3) in women [Dunn’s Test = 4.3, p < 0.0001] and 3 (IQR 4.5) in treatment cases. Problematic pain defined as a pain score of ≥7 occurred more frequently in women (14%) than in men (6%), [Chi square test (chi2) = 5.6, p = 0.02]. Patient satisfaction with the care they received, measured on a scale of 0 (not happy) to 10 (very happy) found the median score to be 10 with 76% reporting a score of 10. Out of 360 responses, 98% of women and 99% of men said that they would be willing to have a future HRA examination.
In this cohort, the overall pain scores were low and similar across appointment types. However, women had a higher pain score, including troublesome pain levels. Despite this, both women and men were equally satisfied with their care and were willing to have a future examination. The results of the analysis show that the procedure is acceptable to patient groups. A small number of women may need general anaesthesia for their examinations/treatment.