New Clinical Algorithms Guide Gastrointestinal Diagnosis

Rome Foundation tool incorporates clear pathways to diagnosis for challenging GI disorders
By Jeff Muise
HealthDay Reporter

TUESDAY, April 13 (HealthDay News) -- "Diagnostic Algorithms for Common Gastrointestinal Symptoms," a new comprehensive set of clinical algorithms to help primary care physicians and gastroenterologists accurately and cost-effectively diagnose frequent gastrointestinal (GI) symptoms of functional GI disorders that are often difficult to diagnose, has been published in the April issue of the American Journal of Gastroenterology.

The new GI diagnostic tool was developed over the past two years by teams of experts at the not-for-profit Rome Foundation, which previously developed the diagnostic criteria for functional GI disorders widely known as the "Rome Criteria".

The new tool combines evidence- and symptom-based criteria and other diagnostic factors into algorithms that can be easily understood and applied in the clinical setting. The diagnostic pathways include standard methods and yes-no decision trees for 15 of the most common GI symptoms, such as abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting, diarrhea, and constipation. The tool addresses esophageal disorders, gastroduodenal disorders, gallbladder and sphincter of Oddi disorders, functional abdominal pain, bowel disorders, anorectal disorders, and psychosocial issues.

"These new algorithms offer the chance to advance the diagnostic capabilities of gastroenterologists and other health care practitioners by providing a clear and evidence-based roadmap to make a specific diagnosis when it comes to complex functional GI disorders," Philip O. Katz, M.D., president of the American College of Gastroenterology, said in a statement. "Ultimately these tools will have the potential to improve the patient's experience and provide opportunities to reduce excessive testing and office visits in a quest for a definitive diagnosis and relief from their symptoms."

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