Diagnostic fecal occult bloodtesting in hospitalized and emergency department patients: Time for change?

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Objective: To examine the use of fecal occult blood testing in inpatients and in those presenting to the emergency department. Methods: We retrieved all fecal occult blood tests (FOBTs) conducted over a 3 year period, gastrointestinal endoscopic studies, and diagnoses of digestive-tract malignant neoplasms. Scheduling reasons and procedure results for all gastrointestinal endoscopies scheduled within 30 days after the FOBT result became available were recorded. Results: A total of 5028 FOBTs were obtained during the 3-year period. Half of the diagnostic endoscopic procedures (n = 957) completed within 30 days of FOBT followed a negative test result. The few reasons for scheduling endoscopic procedures included a positive FOBT result. During follow-up, 17 new diagnoses of digestive-tract malignant neoplasms were made, and 8 of 17 patients had 1 or more positive FOBT result. Conclusions: The results of FOBTs, by themselves, are rarely used for patient management. Eliminating the routine diagnostic use of FOBTs in those settings would not compromise patient care.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)385-392
Number of pages8
JournalLab Medicine
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 11 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Endoscopy
  • FOBT
  • Gastrointestinal bleed
  • Inpatient testing
  • POCT
  • Testing of ED patients

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Biochemistry, medical


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