New test for inflammatory bowel disease!
Fecal calprotectin is a protein expressed by neutrophils (white blood cells). The presence of fecal calprotectin is a sensitive indicator that the gastrointestinal tract is inflamed. Conversely, the absence of fecal calprotectin is a good indicator that the bowel is not significantly inflamed. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the use of testing for fecal calprotectin to help physicians diagnose inflammatory bowel disease in both children and adults.
Who should get tested? Patients with gastrointestinal symptoms of pain, bloating, diarrhea, mucus in the stool in the past may have only had the option to have a colonoscopy with biopsies to diagnose Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis. Now fecal calprotectin testing can be done. If the test is negative, patients may not need a colonoscopy because the diagnosis of inflammatory bowel disease is unlikely (but not zero).