1 Introduction

1 Introduction

This resource has been developed to provide practical information and advice relating to NICE diagnostics guidance on faecal calprotectin diagnostic tests for inflammatory diseases of the bowel.

It is intended for use by both clinical and non‑clinical staff planning to implement this NICE guidance and start using this technology.

Members of NICE's Health Technologies Adoption Programme worked with NHS organisations that participated in a NICE adoption project to share their learning and experiences of implementing faecal calprotectin testing into their care pathways in primary care. The information presented in this resource is intended for the sole purpose of supporting the NHS to adopt or further research faecal calprotectin testing.

The information presented here has not been evaluated by the independent External Assessment Group and was not considered by the Diagnostic Assessment Committee, when making its decision on the use of faecal calprotectin diagnostic tests for inflammatory diseases of the bowel in the NHS.

Faecal calprotectin is a substance that is released in excessive amounts when there is inflammation in the intestines. Its presence can mean that a person has an inflammatory bowel disease, such as Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis. These conditions can cause very similar symptoms to irritable bowel syndrome. Testing for the presence of faecal calprotectin in the stools can help distinguish between inflammatory bowel diseases and non-inflammatory bowel diseases (for example, irritable bowel syndrome).

Staff and patients from the NHS organisations involved in the adoption project reported that the benefits of using faecal calprotectin include:

  • Improved clinical management of people who present with lower gastrointestinal symptoms.

  • Greater reassurance and clinical confidence in reaching an accurate diagnosis.

  • Reduced anxiety for patients.

The learning gained from the organisations that implemented faecal calprotectin testing in their primary care pathways is presented as a series of examples of current practice, which do not necessarily fully accord with the guidance. They are not presented as best practice, but as real‑life examples of how NHS centres have adopted and used this technology. The examples included in this document that differ from the positive guidance recommendations, such as the manufacturers' recommended cut‑off value (see section 4.4 in the guidance on faecal calprotectin diagnostic tests for inflammatory diseases of the bowel) are presented to help organisations and clinicians to develop appropriate care pathways for local implementation.

The names of the tests used by sites were correct at the time of publication. However, since DG11 published, several of the faecal calprotectin tests mentioned in the guidance document have been renamed. Details of the changes can be found in table 1, appendix 1 of the guidance review decision.


This page was last updated: 10 July 2015