New IBD screening may end some endoscopic procedures

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A study published on July 15, 2010 from the BMJ shows that there is a new, non-invasive screening test for inflammatory bowel disease. It is understood that this test could be the answer to eliminating some uses endoscopic procedures.

Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) affects more than 600,000 Americans a year according to WebMd. IBD is a collection of disorders which affect the bowels or the large/small intestines. This tissue becomes red and swollen. This inflammation causes symptoms such as severe or chronic pain in the abdomen, diarrhea, weight loss, decreased appetite, bleeding in the rectum, joint pain, skin problems and fever. IBD is associated with Crohn’s disease and affects mostly people in the age range of 10-30. For more information on IBD, please click here

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Endoscopy is a test where a camera is inserted through the rectum on a long, flexible tube to examine the bowel. This is painful and invasive. Often times, the test is negative. Since this type of test is also expensive, researchers wanted to find a way that could test for inflammatory bowel disease and save the endoscopy tests for positive results of the new tests. The study shows that at least 67% of endoscopy procedures could be eliminated with this test.

The conclusion of the study says that testing for faecal calprotectin is a useful screening tool for identifying patients who are most likely to need endoscopy for suspected inflammatory bowel disease. This was better in the studies for adults over children. This new test will also eliminate the need for biopsies as well a diagnosis tool for IBD.

There is a downside to this test. It may delay the diagnosis in about 6% of adults and 8% of children because of a false negative test. Even still, researchers are confident that this test will develop into a new, cost-saving, pain-saving standard of diagnoses.

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