Characteristics of primary care processes for the treatment of faecal incontinence in an urban area

Colorectal Dis. 2011 Dec;13(12):1417-21. doi: 10.1111/j.1463-1318.2010.02462.x.


Aim: In this study, we investigated the adequacy of the healthcare response systems to detect and treat faecal incontinence in patients in the primary care areas (PCAs) in a core urban area of Barcelona.

Method: Patients with a diagnosis of faecal incontinence in the study area were identified from the electronic register of diagnostic codes, and from a manual review of electronic medical records of a random sample of the study population. The remaining variables were obtained through a structured telephone interview.

Results: In the study population (n = 65,023) with a previously estimated prevalence of faecal incontinence of 13% [95% confidence interval (CI) 10-17%], 68 cases of faecal incontinence were detected by the health care system (prevalence: 0.10%; 95% CI, 0.08-0.13). Of these, 39 patients (68% women, 68 ± 18 years of age) were interviewed: 18 (46%) reported symptoms lasting for longer than 5-10 years and 20 (51%) had waited for more than 5 years before seeking medical advice. Only 8 (18%) had received any treatment for faecal incontinence, and 18 (46%) reported persistent faecal incontinence at the time of the interview (Vaizey severity score 13 ± 4/24).

Conclusion: The detection and treatment of faecal incontinence is insufficient in primary care services. Strategies to correct this are needed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Fecal Incontinence / diagnosis
  • Fecal Incontinence / therapy*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care*
  • Patient Satisfaction
  • Primary Health Care / statistics & numerical data*
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Spain
  • Time Factors
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Urban Health Services / statistics & numerical data*