Introduction Functional gastrointestinal disorders (FGIDs), such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and functional dyspepsia (FD), are common in the community. However, the amount of time that a Gastroenterologist spends dealing with these conditions in the outpatient department has not been well-described. We aimed to examine this issue.
Methods Review of consecutive unselected new patient referrals to a single Gastroenterologist’s outpatient clinic during a 2-year period, from January 2010 to December 2011. All clinic letters were reviewed retrospectively, and symptoms reported by the patient at the initial consultation were recorded. Radiology, endoscopy, chemical pathology, and histopathology databases were then cross-examined in order to ascertain the final diagnosis following full investigation, to the level deemed appropriate by the consulting physician.
Results There were 397 consecutive unselected new patient referrals (mean age 53.2 years, 231 (58.2%) female) to a single Gastroenterologist between January 2010 and December 2011. Of these, 155 (39.0%) were judged as being entirely due to an FGID after investigation, and another 12 (3.0%) were deemed as being partially related to FGIDs, meaning that 167 (42.0%) patients reported symptoms compatible with an FGID. The final diagnoses are listed in Table 1, with some patients reporting symptoms consistent with more than one FGID. The commonest FGID was IBS, followed by FD. Functional bowel disorders accounted for 38.9% of FGIDs seen in clinic.
Number (n = 167) Percentage
Conclusion FGIDs accounted for over 40% of a Gastroenterologist’s workload in clinic. Given that some of these conditions have a similar prevalence in the community, the disparity in prevalence among individual FGIDs seen in a Gastroenterology outpatient clinic suggests that General Practitioners are more comfortable dealing with some FGIDs than others.
Disclosure of Interest None Declared