We evaluated whether the number of positive responses on a review of systems questionnaire predicted the diagnosis of functional gastrointestinal (GI) disorders.
New patients to the University of Michigan GI clinics fill out a standardized questionnaire that includes a comprehensive review of systems which lists 87 items under 11 headings. We determined the number of items circled on the review of systems from the first 100 new patients seen in GI clinic in the year 2000. After a mean of 14 months follow-up, the final diagnoses in these patients were compared with the number of items circled on the review of systems.
Completed questionnaires were available for review in 82/100 patients. Twenty-six patients were diagnosed with a functional GI disorder, 53 patients had a nonfunctional diagnosis, and 3 patients had no diagnosis determined. The mean number of items circled on the review of systems was 15.9 (SD = 11.2) for the functional GI group, compared with 5.9 (SD = 6.9) for the nonfunctional GI diagnosis group (P < 0.005). When the symptom headings were analyzed individually, the differences in general, gastroenterological, cardiovascular, urinary, neurological, eye, ear, nose and throat, and psychiatric symptoms were statistically significant.
Patients with functional GI disorders have a significantly greater number of GI and non-GI symptoms on review of systems. If seven positive symptoms is used as a threshold, the standardized review of systems questionnaire had a sensitivity of 92% and specificity of 80% in detecting patients with functional GI disorders.