28 Dec

Fecal Occult Blood

Fecal occult blood refers to blood in the feces that is not visible.  A fecal occult blood test checks for hidden blood in the stool however newer tests look for globin, DNA, or other blood factors including transferrin.  Conventional stool guaiac tests look for heme.  Fecal occult blood testing detects subtle blood loss in the gastrointestinal tract from the mouth to the colon.  Positive tests may imply upper gastrointestinal bleeding or lower gastrointestinal bleeding and require further investigation as these results suggest the presence of an ulcer or possibly cancer.  The test does not detect colon cancer however it can be used as an initial screening for the disease.  Fecal immunotesting utilizes antibodies specific for globin.  Fecal immunotesting, also known as FIT, is more cost effective than other methods and normally results in more valuable health information.  Beckman Coulter manufacturers a variety of fecal testing products such as the Hemoccult fecal test kit.