Primary care faecal calprotectin testing in children with suspected inflammatory bowel disease: a diagnostic accuracy study
McDonald, Timothy J.
Bewshea, Claire M.
Hart, James W.
Goodhand, James R.
Kennedy, Nicholas A.
JournalArchives of disease in childhood.
Rights© Author(s) (or their employer(s)) 2020. No commercial re-use. See rights and permissions. Published by BMJ.
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Objective: To determine the diagnostic accuracy of calprotectin to diagnose inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) in children in whom general practitioners (GPs) suspected IBD. Design: Prospective observational cohort study of a new calprotectin-based primary care referral pathway. Setting: 48 GP practices and gastroenterology secondary care services at the Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Foundation Trust in the South-West of England, UK. Patients: 195 children aged between 4 and 18 years referred on the pathway between January 2014 and August 2017 for investigation of gastrointestinal symptoms were included. Interventions: Primary-care-driven faecal calprotectin testing. Primary and secondary care records over 12 months from the point of calprotectin testing were used as the reference standard. Main outcome measures: Diagnostic accuracy of calprotectin testing to detect IBD. Results: 7% (13/195) tested patients were diagnosed with IBD. Using our prespecified cut-off of 100 µg/g, calprotectin had a diagnostic accuracy of 91% (95% CI 86% to 95%) with a sensitivity for distinguishing IBD from non-IBD of 100% (95% CI 75% to 100%), a specificity of 91% (95% CI 85% to 94%), a positive predictive value of 43% (95% CI 25% to 63%) and a negative predictive value of 100% (95% CI 98% to 100%). Calprotectin testing had no effect on the time to diagnosis, but a negative test contributed to saved referrals and was associated with fewer diagnostic tests in secondary care. Conclusions: Calprotectin testing of children with suspected IBD in primary care accurately distinguishes IBD from a functional gut disorder, reduces secondary care referrals and associated diagnostic healthcare utilisation.