Usefullness of routine use of fecal occult blood test in a hospital setting

  • Simona Ravnik
  • Marjan Skalicky
  • Pavel Skok
Keywords: fecal occult blood test, bleeding from gastrointestinal tract, screening, colorectal cancer


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.


Download data is not yet available.


Mandel JS, Bond JH, Church TR, Snover DC, Bradley M, Schuman LM, et al. Reducing mortality for colorectal cancer by screening for faecal occult blood. N Eng J Med 1993; 328:1367–71.

Hardcastle JD, Chamberlain JO, Robinson MHE, Moss SM, Amar SS, Balfour TW, et al. Randomised controlled trial of faecal occult-blood screening for colorectal cancer. Lancet 1996; 348:1472–7.

Kronborg O, Fenger C, Olsen J, Jorgensen OD, Sondergaard O. Randomised study of screening for colorectal cancer with faecal occult-blood test. Lancet 1996; 348:1467–71.

Mandel JS, Church TR, Bond JH, Ederer F, Geisser MS, Mongin SJ, et al. The effect of Fecalt Occult-Blood Screening on the Incidence of the Colorectal cancer. N Eng J Med 2000; 343:1603–7.

Crespi M, Stigliano V, Assisi D. Current trends in screening and secondary prevention of colorectal cancer. Hepatogastroenterology 2001; 48:1635–40.

Markovič S, Repše S, Heijnen S. Obvladovanje kolorektalnega karcinoma. Nacionalna klinična smernica. Projekt razvoja sistema upravljanja zdravstvenega varstva. Ljubljana: Ministrstvo za zdravje; 2002.

Coleman MP, Gatta G, Verdecchia A, Estove J, Sant M, Storm H, et al. Eurocare-3 summary: cancer survival in Europe at the end of the 20th century. Ann Oncol 2003; 14 Suppl 5: 128–49.

Incidenca raka v Sloveniji 2001. Ljubljana: Onkološki inštitut, Register raka za Slovenijo; 2004.

Lambert R, Mahé C. Screening for Digestive Cancers: from theory to practise. World Gastroenterology News 2005; 11: 42–5.

Podatkovna baza MEDIS. Računalniški center Splošne bolnišnice Maribor. Letno poročilo 2005.

Young GP, Rozen P. Faecal immunochemical test (FITs) for haemoglobin: a paradigm shift from non-invasive faecal screening test for colorectal cancer. World Gastroenterology News 2005; 11: 22–4.

Ferkolj I, Markovič S. Kolorektalni karcinom. In: Kocijančič A, Mrevlje F. Interna medicina. 2nd ed. Ljubljana: EWO; 2005. p. 535–42.

Žerdin M, Koželj M, Skok P. Rak debelega črevesa in danke – preprečevanje in presejanje. Zdrav Vest 2006; 75: 29–37.

How to Cite
Ravnik S, Skalicky M, Skok P. Usefullness of routine use of fecal occult blood test in a hospital setting. ZdravVestn [Internet]. 1 [cited 15Dec.2019];75. Available from:
Professional article

Most read articles by the same author(s)

1 2 > >>