FECAL CALPROTECTIN – A NEW TEST FOR THE ASSESSMENT OF INTESTINAL INFLAMMATION
Kent Dooley, PhD Clinical Chemist, LifeLabs BC
Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) are conditions that present with chronic abdominal pain and disrupted bowel habits. Combined, they affect more than 5 million Canadians indiscriminately of age, gender or race1.
Aside from negatively impacting the quality of life, IBS is relatively benign. It does not lead to any permanent structural damage to the intestines. Dietary and lifestyle changes can usually alleviate the symptoms of this disorder2. IBD on the other hand is characterized by intestinal inflammation and ulcers. This organic disease can lead to serious complications including the development of fistulas, abscesses and strictures; sometimes leading to perforation of the bowel3. This disease also carries an increased risk of malignancy4. Diagnosing IBD typically involves endoscopy and medical imaging which is expensive, invasive and difficult to conduct, especially with young patients.