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Urgent, Non-Screening Fecal Occult Blood Testing for Patients with Suspected Gastrointestinal Bleeding: A Review of Clinical Effectiveness and Guidelines

Last updated: January 3, 2017
Project Number: RC0839-000
Product Line: Rapid Response
Research Type: Other Diagnostics
Report Type: Summary with Critical Appraisal
Result type: Report

Question

  1. What is the clinical effectiveness of urgent non-screening fecal occult blood testing for patients with suspected gastrointestinal bleeding?
  2. What are the evidence-based guidelines regarding the use of fecal occult blood testing for patients with suspected gastrointestinal bleeding?

Key Message

Overall, due to the limited number of studies and the retrospective nature of the data, it is unclear whether FOBT is clinically effective for use in hospitalized patients with gastrointestinal bleeding. While three of the four studies found that patients with a positive FOBT were more likely to be referred for further GI follow-up, none of the studies measured patient health outcomes and it is therefore unknown if the testing had any impact on health status. No relevant evidence-based guidelines regarding urgent FOBT testing were identified.