Mayo Clinic Develops Microscopic Colitis Diagnostic Tool
Mayo Clinic researchers have devised a Microscopic Colitis Disease Activity Index in order to better diagnose a common cause of chronic diarrhea, they announced at a conference this week.
"This assessment is a significant step forward, as it correlates a patient's symptoms with the physicians' understanding of the severity of microscopic colitis," Dr. Darrell Pardi, a gastroenterologist at the Rochester, Minn. clinic said in a statement.
Symptoms other than diarrhea are also taken into account in the index, which provides a consistent way of assessing their severity. These include abdominal pain, urgency, and incontinence. In future studies, researchers will use the assessment index to more easily compare treatments for this disease, microscopic colitis.
The condition is recognized as a common cause of chronic diarrhea, causing as many as 30 percent of all cases of the condition in older people. Microscopic colitis is an inflammatory condition of the large intestine (colon). It causes watery diarrhea and occasionally abdominal pain, and gets its name from the required examination of microscopic tissue to identify it.
"Until now, physicians have not had a way to objectively and consistently score the severity of a patient's disease beyond simply counting the number of bowel movements per day," said Pardi.
The Mayo Clinic study describing the index was released during the American College of Gastroenterology 2011 Annual Scientific Meeting and Postgraduate Course in Washington, D.C.