AIM: To examine the feasibility of predicting the flareup of ulcerative colitis (UC) before symptoms emerge using the immunochemical fecal occult blood test (IFOBT). METHODS: We prospectively measured fecal hemoglobin concentrations in 78 UC patients using the I-FOBT every 1 or 2 mo. RESULTS: During a 20 mo-period, 823 fecal samples from 78 patients were submitted. The median concentration of fecal hemoglobin was 41 ng/mL (range: 0-392 500 ng/mL). There were three types of patients with regard to the correlation between I-FOBT and patient symptoms; the synchronous transition type with symptoms (44 patients), the unrelated type with symptoms (19 patients), and the flare-up predictive type (15 patients). In patients with the flare-up predictive type, the values of I-FOBT were generally low during the study period with stable symptoms. Two to four weeks before the flare-up of symptoms, the I-FOBT values were high. Thus, in these patients, I-FOBT could predict the flare-up before symptoms emerged. CONCLUSION: Flare-up could be predicted by I-FOBT in approximately 20% of UC patients. These results warrant periodical I-FOBT in UC patients.
- Immunochemical fecal occult blood test
- Inflammatory bowel disease
- Ulcerative colitis
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