Background: Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is frequently diagnosed in primary care. Its diagnosis is based on diagnostic criteria but their use is limited in primary care.We aimed to assess the diagnostic agreement between the older (Manning's and Rome II) and the new (Rome III) criteria for the diagnosis of IBS in primary care in Greece.
Methods: Medical records of 5 Health Centers in rural Crete, Greece, were reviewed for a four-year period and patients with the diagnosis of IBS were invited to a structured interview. Kappa agreement of the Rome III criteria with the criteria of Manning and Rome II was estimated. One hundred and twenty three patients were eligible for interview and 67 (54.5%) participated. Forty-six (69%) fulfilled the Manning, 32(48%) the Rome II, and 16(24%) the Rome III criteria. Twenty-seven (40%) patients were identified as IBS according to the questionnaire for the identification of functional gastrointestinal diseases (FGIDs). The agreement of Rome III with Manning criteria was poor (kappa = 0.25). The agreement between the FGIDs questionnaire and the Manning, Rome II and Rome III criteria was: kappa = 0.30, 0.31 and 0.24 respectively. Moderate agreement was found between the Rome II and III criteria (kappa = 0.51).
Conclusion: Questionnaires and criteria deriving from expert's consensus meetings or tertiary hospitals are not easy to apply in rural primary care where symptoms are often underestimated by patients and complicated questions can be confusing.