ABSTRACT: To study if and how physicians use the irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) diagnostic criteria and to assess treatment strategies in IBS patients.
A questionnaire was sent to 191 physicians regarding IBS criteria, diagnostic methods and treatment. Furthermore, 94 patients who were diagnosed with IBS underwent telephone interview.
A total of 80/191 (41.9%) physicians responded to the survey. Overall, 13 patients were diagnosed monthly with IBS by specialists in gastroenterology (SGs) and 2.5 patients by general practitioners (GPs). All the SGs knew of the criteria to diagnose IBS, as did 46/70 (65.7%) GPs. Seventy-nine percent used the patient's history, 38% used a physical examination, and 38% exclusion of other diseases to diagnose IBS. Only 18/80 (22.5%) physicians used specific IBS criteria. Of the patients interviewed, 59/94 (62.8%) knew they had experienced IBS. Two out of five patients knew IBS and had seen a physician because of IBS symptoms. Half of those received a diagnosis of IBS. A total of 13% were satisfied with treatment. IBS affected daily activities in 43% of cases.
Half of the patients with IBS who consulted a physician received a diagnosis. Awareness and knowledge of diagnostic criteria for IBS differ between SGs and GPs.
World Journal of Gastroenterology 07/2012; 18(28):3715-20. · 2.47 Impact Factor