Millions spent on unnecessary tests after normal colonoscopy

The results of a survey to be presented at Australian Gastroenterology Week (AGW 2012) in Adelaide this week show after a positive faecal occult blood test (FOBT) but negative colonoscopy, 65.6% of GPs, 19.5% of gastroenterologists and 14.2% of colorectal surgeons would refer for further investigation.

Gastroenterologist Professor Finlay Macrae, head of colorectal medicine at Royal Melbourne Hospital and study co-author, said following positive FOBT only a colonoscopy need be done to rule out polyps or cancer. Nothing further was required unless there was another clinical reason to investigate, such as indigestion or heartburn.

A total 298 GPs, gastroenterologists, surgeons and registrars were surveyed with 202 responses received. The questionnaire asked what the next step would be for a 55-year-old asymptomatic male with no family history of colorectal carcinoma, a positive FOBT and a normal colonoscopy.

Of 61 GP