Objective: We sought to estimate the frequency of self-reported fecal incontinence (FI), identify what proportion of these patients have a diagnosis of FI in their medical record, and compare health care costs and utilization in patients with different severities of FI to those without FI.
Study design: Patients in a health maintenance organization were eligible and 1707 completed a survey. Patients with self-reported FI were assessed for a diagnosis of FI in their medical record for the last 5 years. Health care costs and utilization were obtained from claims data.
Results: FI was reported by 36.2% of primary care patients, but only 2.7% of patients with FI had a medical diagnosis. FI adversely affected quality of life and severe FI was associated with 55% higher health care costs (including 77% higher gastrointestinal-related health care costs) compared to continent patients.
Conclusion: Increased screening of FI is needed.
Copyright (c) 2010 Mosby, Inc. All rights reserved.