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DDW: Bowel Sounds May Identify Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Last Updated: June 05, 2018.

A noninvasive method for diagnosing irritable bowel syndrome, based on use of bowel sounds, has high sensitivity and specificity, according to a study presented at the 2018 Digestive Disease Week, held from June 2 to 5 in Washington, D.C.

TUESDAY, June 5, 2018 (HealthDay News) -- A noninvasive method for diagnosing irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), based on use of bowel sounds, has high sensitivity and specificity, according to a study presented at the 2018 Digestive Disease Week, held from June 2 to 5 in Washington, D.C.

Xuhao Du, Ph.D., from the University of Western Australia in Perth, and colleagues explored the use of bowel sounds to characterize IBS with a view to diagnostic use in a case-control study. Study participants with an existing clinical diagnosis of IBS or healthy (asymptomatic) digestive systems were recruited. Bowel sounds were recorded for two hours after fasting and then for 40 minutes following a standardized meal.

The researchers found that using the first 31 IBS patients and 37 healthy subjects, leave one out cross-validation of the model resulted in 90 and 92 percent sensitivity and specificity, respectively, for IBS diagnosis. The sensitivity and specificity was 87 and 87 percent, respectively, in independent testing using the next 15 IBS and 15 healthy subjects.

"This study allowed us to achieve proof-of-concept. Once we further develop the belt and test it on more patients, this tool will be intended for use in primary care settings for the diagnosis of IBS," a coauthor said in a statement. "The hope is that this new technology can offer a less invasive way to diagnose this painful, and sometimes debilitating, condition."

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