Saudi Journal of Gastroenterology
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Year : 2017  |  Volume : 23  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 229-232

Screening irritable bowel syndrome patients for symptoms predictive of crohn's disease using the red flag score

Gastroenterology Unit, Department of Medicine, King Abdulaziz University, Jeddah, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

Correspondence Address:
Mahmoud Mosli
Department of Medicine, King Abdulaziz University, Jeddah
Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/sjg.SJG_601_16

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Background/Aims: The diagnosis of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is often delayed due to misdiagnosing patients with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), mostly because of the under-recognition of high-risk features. The red flag score (RFS) has been recently developed to identify patients with higher risk of IBD rather than IBS. The aim of this study is to estimate the prevalence of high-risk features, according to the RFS, among patients diagnosed with IBS who would consequently be candidates for ileocolonoscopic evaluation. Patients and Methods: Adult patients with IBS seen at the general medicine clinic were recruited and surveyed using the RFS. Clinical and demographic data were collected. The prevalence of high-risk features, defined as a RFS >5, was calculated. Logistic regression analysis was used to identify predictors of RFS >5. Results: A total of 255 patients with IBS were recruited. The mean age was 30.6 years (±9.9 years); 71.4% of patients were women (182/255), and 90.2% were from Saudi Arabia (230/255). More than half of the patients we surveyed (51.4%) had not visited a gastroenterologist previously. The mean RFS was 6.6 (±3.6) and 54.9% of patients (140/255) scored more than 5 and accordingly were selected for further investigations. Statistical analysis identified no previous visits to a gastroenterologist as the only significant predictor of RFS >5 (OR = 2.2, 95% CI = 1.3–3.7, P = 0.003). Conclusions: More than half of the patients known to have IBS are candidates for further investigations to eliminate the possibility of IBD as a diagnosis according to the validated RFS. Patients who did not seek a specialized consultation with a gastroenterologist might be at a higher risk of being misdiagnosed as having IBS.

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