Test for stool hemoglobin (fecal occult blood) is used in the investigation of bleeding in any part of the gastrointestinal system and as a screening test for colon cancer.
Bleeding in the gastrointestinal tract can occur as a result of either taking certain medications or during many pathological processes. Bleeding from the upper part of the gastrointestinal tract, such as from gastric ulcers, results in the formation of black (tar) feces. Bleeding from the lower gastrointestinal tract, such as from hemorrhoids, usually produces intense red blood. Examination to find the microscopic presence of blood in the stool (stool hemoglobin) can detect blood loss when it is greater than 5 ml daily. Screening with fecal occult blood test is a very important, non-invasive test in trying to detect cancers of the gastrointestinal system, especially the colon.
There are two methods for detecting latent hemorrhage in stool. One method (chemical) is based on the guaiac chemical whereas the other method is based on the test of human hemoglobin with monoclonal antibodies (immunological method).
The guaiac chemical method detects heme peroxidase activity and is not specific to human hemoglobin. This can lead to false-positive results due to the intake of certain foods (eg meat) and medications prior to testing.
Immunological screening of faeces detects only human hemoglobin and thus food and drug intake does not affect the results of the test. Fecal hemoglobin immunological testing is more patient-friendly and has equal or greater sensitivity and specificity than previous guaiac chemical tests.
At Diagnostiki Athinon, fecal occult blood testing is performed using the immunological method only.
What Do Pathological Values Mean?
- Increase: Anal fissures, intestinal polyps, hiatal hernia, diverticulitis, esophageal varices, esophagitis, gastritis, peptic ulcer, gastrointestinal cancer (gastric, colon), gastrointestinal tract trauma including surgery, hemorrhoids, inflammatory bowel diseases (Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis).
Laboratory test results are the most important parameter for the diagnosis and monitoring of all pathological conditions. 70%-80% of diagnostic decisions are based on laboratory tests. The correct interpretation of laboratory results allows a doctor to distinguish "healthy" from "diseased".
Laboratory test results should not be interpreted from the numerical result of a single analysis. Test results should be interpreted in relation to each individual case and family history, clinical findings, and the results of other laboratory tests and information. Your personal physician should explain the importance of your test results.
At Diagnostiki Athinon we answer any questions you may have about the test you perform in our laboratory and we contact your doctor to get the best possible medical care.