Digestive Health Associates

Southwest Endoscopy Center

Southwest Endoscopy Center

Southwestern Colorado's Accredited and Quality-Recognized Endoscopy Center
A Covenant Surgical Partners Facility

ASGE Quality Endoscopy Unit Recognition Program
GIQuIC GI Quality Improvement Consortium
AAAHC Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care

Celebrating our 18th year of service as Southwest Colorado's leading provider of outpatient endoscopy services



Since our facility opened in
2001 we have performed over 45,000 endoscopic procedures in a convenient, safe, private, comfortable and cost-effective atmosphere. 


Your time is very important to us.  Even though we have a lot to do during your short stay to complete your procedure in a safe and effective manner, one of our key goals is to get you home as quickly as possible.  In most cases, patients seen at our facility for an endoscopic procedure are ready to be discharged home less than 2 hours after check-in.

Procedures Commonly Performed at our Center

Colonoscopy click for additional information from the ASGE
Colonoscopy is an examination of the large intestine (colon) which is frequently performed for routine colon cancer screening, detection and removal of potentially precancerous growths (polyps), evaluation of symptoms such as diarrhea, abdominal pain, bleeding or constipation, and the monitoring of inflammatory bowel diseases, such as ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease.


Upper gastrointestinal endoscopy click for additional information from the ASGE
Esophagogastroduodenoscopy, or EGD, is an examination of the esophagus, stomach and duodenum often performed for the evaluation of symptoms such as heartburn, trouble swallowing, abdominal pain or indigestion, vomiting or weight loss, or a sensation of filling up too fast.  Endoscopy is also often performed in individuals who have reflux symptoms such as heartburn to screen for complications such as the potentially precancerous problem known as Barrett's esophagus.

Esophageal dilation click for additional information from the ASGE
Esophageal dilation is the treatment of narrowing in the esophagus due to gastroesophageal reflux disease, allergic disease of the esophagus (eosinophilic esophagitis) or other disease processes.  Dilation is performed with a variety of instruments, including tapered plastic or rubber-like tubes and balloon catheters.  Dilation is generally performed during an upper endoscopy.

Minimally invasive hemorrhoid treatments
We offer hemorrhoidal band ligation (placement of temporary internal rubber (or latex-free, when needed) bands at the base of hemorrhoids) using the CRH O'Regan system or other (endoscopic or anoscopic) ligators.  We also offer infrared coagulation (infrared light-based coagulation probe) treatment.  These treatments can all be initiated at the time of colonoscopy.  Follow-up procedures, often needed to complete a course of effective care, can be scheduled in our clinic. 


Important processes of care at our facility


In most cases procedures at the Center are performed under IV procedural sedation/anesthesia.  Unlike a general anesthetic for which an artificial breathing tube must be inserted, during procedural sedation/anesthesia patients are asleep enough not to feel or remember painful aspects of the procedure, but awake enough to maintain breathing and other essential body functions.  Sedatives in our facility are usually administered by a certified registered nurse anesthetist (CRNA).  Our patients are closely monitored by their CRNA, who has no other tasks during the procedure.  Our monitoring procedures additionally include ECG (heart electrical tracing), oximetry (blood oxygen level) and capnography (exhaled breath carbon dioxide level).  All patients receive supplemental oxygen by nasal cannula or mask.

Procedure reports

We complete computer-generated procedure reports, which include digital photographs taken during the procedure, while our patients are in the recovery area.  All patients are provided with a copy of their full report prior to discharge.  Our trained recovery area nurses review findings with our patients before discharge, and provide patient education materials pertinent to any important findings.  When necessary, additional physician consultation may also be arranged prior to discharge or later on the day of examination.  Unless instructed otherwise, we provide a copy of this report to referring providers, primary care providers, and other designated doctors or facilities.



Pathology examinations

Tissue is commonly removed during endoscopic procedures.  Any biopsies, polyps or other specimens obtained or removed during a procedure at our facility are referred for examination by a pathologist trained in the evaluation of gastrointestinal endoscopic specimens .  Your Digestive Health doctor will communicate your pathology findings directly to you, typically by letter, telephone call or e-mail.



Clinical Outcomes Research Initiative

Digestive Health joined this prestigious endoscopic research consortium, which is based at the University of Oregon's Health Sciences Center, in 1999.  Until the development of GIQuIC, in which the Southwest Endoscopy Center also a participant, CORI was the world's leading endoscopic data repository, with nearly 70 university hospitals, Veteran's Administration hospitals and private practice research sites in the United States and Canada working together to improve the quality of clinical practice in gastroenterology.  At the Southwest Endoscopy Center our procedure data are electronically processed to remove any information by which an individual patient or physician could be identified, following which the remaining "deidentified" data are shared for research purposes in the
National Endoscopic Database and the National Institute of Health's NIDDK (National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases) Central Repository.  Many CORI-based studies have already added significantly to our understanding of gastrointestinal diseases and have influenced the practice of gastrointestinal endoscopy worldwide.

A recent CORI study showing how high-quality colonoscopy data from the Southwest Endoscopy Center and other CORI sites can add to our knowledge and the practical management of our patients is Low rate of Large Polyps (>9mm) Within 10 Years After an Adequate Baseline Colonoscopy With no Polyps.

Our Digestive Health CORI database includes over 58,000 reports of endoscopic procedures we have performed at our Durango sites.


Frequently Asked Questions

How are flexible endoscopes cleaned between patients?

What are the differences between our endoscopy center and Mercy Regional Medical Center's endoscopy facility?

Additional information

Please visit the American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy's patient education site for additional general information about gastrointestinal endoscopy.


Facility Administration

Sean Mouret, RN, BSN, CGRN
Director of Nursing

Marianne Sloan, MBA
Facility Administrator

Steven R. Christensen, MD

Medical Director

Patrick D. Gerstenberger, MD, Steve R. Christensen, MD and Stuart B. Saslow, MD, through the Southwest Endoscopy Center, RLLLP, 
are partners with Covenant Surgical Partners in Southwest Endoscopy Partners, LLC