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Clin Chem Lab Med. 2016 Apr;54(4):595-602. doi: 10.1515/cclm-2015-0617.

Use of a faecal immunochemical test for haemoglobin can aid in the investigation of patients with lower abdominal symptoms.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

This study aimed to determine whether patients with lower abdominal symptoms can be investigated quickly using results of faecal haemoglobin concentration (f-Hb) measurements, and whether this test could form part of a diagnostic pathway for significant colorectal disease.

METHODS:

Nine hundred and nine consecutive patients referred from primary care for colonoscopy were invited: 507 submitted samples for f-Hb measurement with a quantitative faecal immunochemical test for haemoglobin (FIT) (HM-JACKarc, Kyowa-Medex, Japan) and a diagnostic colonoscopy was completed in 484 patients.

RESULTS:

Colorectal cancer (CRC), higher risk adenoma (HRA), inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and/or colitis was found in 45 patients (9.3%); these had significantly higher (p<0.0001) f-Hb than the group of 243 with normal colonoscopy plus the 196 patients with less significant clinical findings. The 11 (2.2%) patients with CRC all had f-Hb >190 μg Hb/g faeces. Using a f-Hb cut-off of 10 μg Hb/g faeces, for the group with CRC or HRA or IBD or colitis, sensitivity was 68.9%, specificity 80.2%, positive predictive value (PPV) 26.3% and negative predictive value (NPV) 96.2%. Sensitivity and NPV were 100% for CRC suggesting f-Hb is a good rule-in test for CRC. Of the 243 patients with normal colonoscopy, 81.2% had f-Hb<10 μg Hb/g faeces.

CONCLUSIONS:

The high NPV for significant colorectal diseases suggests that f-Hb could be used as a rule-out test in this context. Potential exists for using f-Hb measurements to investigate symptomatic patients and guide the use of colonoscopy resources: detailed algorithms for the introduction of f-Hb measurements requires further exploration.

PMID:
26457785
DOI:
10.1515/cclm-2015-0617
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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