Podcast # 327: No More Hemoccults

Author: Don Stader, MD

Educational Pearls:

  • The use of fecal occult blood tests is falling out of favor in emergency departments.
  • In the ED, small amounts of bleeding are often not clinically significant and can lead to harms and costs of over-testing.
  • They have relatively high false positive and false negative rates.
  • Fecal occult blood tests have strong evidence suggesting their efficacy in cancer screening.


Cuthbert JA, Hashim IA. Diagnostic Fecal Occult Blood Testing in Hospitalized and Emergency Department Patients: Time for Change? Laboratory Medicine. 2018. doi:10.1093/labmed/lmy010.

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