Usefullness of routine use of fecal occult blood test in a hospital setting
Background: Fecal occult blood test, hematest, is a well excepted non-invasive method used for detecting different diseases of the gastrointestinal tract. It was proven in different randomized studies that usage of this simple method may facilitate further diagnostic and therapeutic treatment.
Patients and methods: The retrospective analysis includes patients, which were admitted to the gastroenterological and endoscopy department of the General hospital Maribor in the last quarter of the year 2005. In all patients fecal occult blood test was performed.
Results: We examined 200 patients, 104 women and 96 men, average age 63.9 years, SD±16.9, ranging from 21 to 97 years. Positive hematest was discovered in 76 patients (38 %). The source of hemorrhage from the upper digestive tract was confirmed in 37 patients (48.6 % of all positive tests) and from the lower digestive tract in 34 patients (46 % of all positive tests). The most frequent causes of hemorrhage from the lower digestive tract were chronic inflammatory bowel disease (13.1 % of all positive tests), colorectal cancer (10.5 %) and polyps (6.6 %). The source of hemorrhage was not located in five patients (6.6 % of all positive tests) despite the accurate diagnostic procedure.
Conclusions: By performing a fecal occult blood screening in non-symptomatic patients, we can make an essential step towards discovering different gastrointestinal diseases, even colorectal cancer in its early, limited form, when the effect of treatment is greatest.
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