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Fecal Occult Blood Testing

Which Test?

Laboratory Testing vs Office Digital Rectal Exam (DRE)

Slide 15

October 2011

An issue that has come up historically regards use of digital rectal exam for clinical diagnosis or screening. Based on results from multiple studies, this practice is now discouraged by professional societies and in national screening guidelines. In one such study, Hemoccult testing from a single digital rectal exam was compared to 3 stools tested in the laboratory. As shown, digital rectal exam detected only 5%, which was about the same rate as over all false-positivity rate versus nearly 30% by laboratory testing. Furthermore, quality is difficult to control in the office setting due to monitoring of outdated kits, wide variation in interpretation of results, and inconsistent documentation that fecal blood test was checked. So, one could argue that digital rectal examination as an approach to fecal blood testing has little value.

Laboratory Testing vs Office DRE


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