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Flushable reagent stool blood test

Definition: This is a test performed at home with disposable pads that detects the presence of hidden (occult) blood in the stool. The pads are available at drugstores without a prescription.

Brand names include EZ-Detectâ„¢ and ColoCARE.

Alternative Names: Stool occult blood test, flushable home test, fecal occult blood test, flushable home test

How the test is performed: Urinate first, flush. Then simply place a chemically treated tissue pad in the toilet after a bowel movement. Watch for a change of color on the test area of the pad (results are usually within two minutes). Repeat for two more consecutive bowel movements. Note results on card provided. Then flush pad away. Mail results card to your physician. There is no direct handling of stool.

The different tests have different methods to check for water quality. Check manufacturer instructions.

How to prepare for the test: Discontinue drugs that can interfere with the test. Check instructions for dietary restrictions.

How the test will feel: This test involves only normal bowel functions, and there is no discomfort.

Why the test is performed: This test is mainly performed for colorectal cancer screening. It may also be recommended in the evaluation of anemia.

Normal Values: A negative result is normal.

Abnormal results may indicate:

  • Use of aspirin or NSAIDS (e.g., Ibuprofen)
  • Colon polyp
  • Colon cancer
  • Esophagitis
  • Gastritis
  • GI (gastrointestinal) trauma
  • Other benign or malignant GI tumors besides colon cancer or colon polyps
  • Hemorrhoids
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Peptic ulcer
  • Recent GI surgery
  • Angiodysplasia of the GI tract
  • GI infections
  • Esophageal varices and portal hypertensive gastropathy

What the risks are: There can be false-positives and false-negatives. These are similar as for the traditional guaiac smear tests.

Special considerations: Same as for guaiac smear tests.

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