Diagnosis of irritable bowel syndrome would be better made by gastroenterologists than primary care physicians

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Mariette Bengtsson
Bodil Ohlsson *
(*) Corresponding Author:
Bodil Ohlsson | bodil.ohlsson@med.lu.se

Abstract

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a common disease, and constitutes a large portion of pa-tients admitted to gastroenterology units. We wanted to examine whether there is a need for patients with suspected IBS to have a thorough examination by a gastroenterologist to estab-lish the diagnosis, or whether other specialist or subspecialist physicians could better or equally identify the problems. From April 2003 to April 2005, females admitted with presumed IBS and consequently scrutinized by a gastroenterologist in our department were included. They were examined by a physician to establish a diagnosis. Four years later, the medical records were again scrutinized including abdominal symptoms, laboratory analyses and X-ray findings, to check if the findings were identical to the original diagnoses. Fifty admissions were identified. Nine of the patients did not want to participate, and 2 pa-tients did not keep the appointment. The diagnosis of IBS was confirmed in only 20 (51%) and the other 19 (49%) had another diagnosis other than IBS. At follow up, 3 patients included with the IBS diagnosis had organic diseases, and 4 with another diagnosis also had IBS. Thus, 46% of the examined women with expected IBS had another diagnosis. A thorough examination of the patient and confirmation of the symptoms by a gastroenterologist is necessary before diagnosis of IBS is confirmed. For this purpose, patients need to meet a specialist when diagnosis is uncertain.

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