Clinical utilization of digital rectal examination and fecal occult blood testing upon hospital admission.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

GOALS: The objective of our investigation was to examine the clinical utilization of digital rectal examination (DRE) and fecal occult blood testing (FOBT) at hospital admission. BACKGROUND: DRE at the time of hospital admission is frequently accompanied by FOBT. However, the utility of DRE with FOBT in this setting is unknown. STUDY: The study cohort comprised consecutive admissions to an internal medicine service over a 3-month period. Patient characteristics were compared for subjects by DRE performance and FOBT result. Follow-up endoscopic procedures within 1 year of admission were recorded. RESULTS: Complete data were available for 806 of 832 patients (96.9%). Three hundred forty eight patients underwent DRE on admission (43.2%). Patients undergoing DRE/FOBT were older (mean age 60.4+/-18.4 y vs. 55.0+/-19.6 y, P<0.001). Patients with gastrointestinal (GI) bleeding symptoms (relative risk 11.2, 95% confidence interval 5.47-23.0) or a past history of GI bleeding (relative risk 2.98, 95% confidence interval 1.93-4.58) were more likely to undergo DRE/FOBT. Among 130 (37.4%) patients with a positive FOBT, 72 (51.6%) had no history of GI bleeding symptoms; these patients were substantially less likely to undergo follow-up examination(s) than patients with a positive FOBT and a history of GI bleeding symptoms (30.6% vs. 82.8%, P<0.001). CONCLUSIONS: In this cohort, patients with a past history of GI disease or symptoms were more likely to undergo FOBT. Follow-up evaluation of positive FOBT in the absence of GI bleeding symptoms was very low. Low utilization and follow-up rates may limit the utility of admission DRE with FOBT for cancer screening.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Scales, CD; Fein, S; Muir, AJ; Rockey, DC

Published Date

  • 2006

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 40 / 10

Start / End Page

  • 913 - 918

PubMed ID

  • 17063111

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0192-0790

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1097/01.mcg.0000225674.14594.9f


  • eng

Conference Location

  • United States