Intestinal Ultrasound as First-Line Investigation in Low Risk Gastrointestinal Symptoms: A New Model of Care

Link to article at PubMed

Intern Med J. 2020 Nov 16. doi: 10.1111/imj.15133. Online ahead of print.


BACKGROUND: Functional Gut Disorder's (FGD) are common. Diagnosis is symptom based, although symptoms may be indistinguishable from Inflammatory Bowel Disease. As a result of this investigations are common, diagnostic yield is low. A streamlined novel model of care may reduce costly investigations. This study aims to compare a new model of care for patients with low risk gastrointestinal symptoms to a matched historical cohort.

METHODS: Data were prospectively collected over 12 months. General Practitioner referrals for low risk abdominal symptoms were triaged to a new multidisciplinary clinic structure utilising Intestinal Ultrasound (IUS). Outcomes were compared to the historical model in the preceding 12 months. Duration of care (time from referral to discharge), number of contact episodes, and investigations ordered were reviewed.

RESULTS: 37 patients meeting strict inclusion criteria completed their care. Compared with the historical cohort, colonoscopies reduced from 0.7 to 0.05 per patient (p<0.0001). Gastroenterology consults reduced from 1.5 to 1.2 (p=0.303) and dietitian review increased from 0.8 to 1.5 (p<0.0001). Total contact episodes reduced from 3.2 to 1.8 (p<0.0001). Duration of care reduced from a median of 252 days to 130 days (IQRs 287 and 69 respectively, p<0.0001). Time from first consultation to discharge reduced from 125 to 42 days (IQRs 188 and 63, p<0.0001) CONCLUSION: This multidisciplinary approach to care of low risk abdominal symptoms significantly reduced contact episodes, time in care and invasive investigations. It decreased costly gastroenterology consultation and increased allied health exposure. It demonstrates improved health service outcomes. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

PMID:33197118 | DOI:10.1111/imj.15133

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