Development of the Brussels Infant and Toddler Stool Scale ('BITSS'): protocol of the study

BMJ Open. 2017 Mar 29;7(3):e014620. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2016-014620.


Introduction: The Bristol Stool Form Scale (BSS) which consists of 7 photographs of different stool forms allows assessment of stool consistency (scale 1 for hard lumps to scale 7 for watery stools), in an objective manner in adults. The BSS is also sometimes used to characterise the stools of infants and young children. Despite its use, there is general agreement among paediatric gastroenterologists that the BSS is not adequate to be used in infants and young children who wear diapers; thus, a new scale specifically designed for this population is needed. Our aim is to develop a paediatric stool scale, the Brussels Infant and Toddler Stool Scale ('BITSS'), and to evaluate the interobserver agreement of stool assessment with the BITSS between the patient's parent and healthcare providers (physicians and nurses).

Methods and analysis: This study has two phases. In the first phase, 11 key-opinion leaders in the field of paediatric gastroenterology representing different areas of the world selected seven coloured photographs of infants and/or young children wearing diapers to match the original descriptors of the BSS. The selected photographs were used to create a new scale in which the drawings of stools of the BSS were replaced by infant/toddlers stool photographs. In phase II, we aim at demonstrating that parents, nurses and primary healthcare physicians interpret the stool-pictures of the BITSS with a high degree of consensus and that the agreement is independent of whether it is a parent or a healthcare provider. Interobserver variability of stool assessment with the BITSS between the patient's parent and healthcare providers will be assessed.

Ethics and dissemination: The study will be approved by the Ethics Committee of the participating centres. The findings of this study will be submitted to a peer-reviewed journal. Abstracts will be submitted to national and international conferences.

Trial registration number: NCT02913950.

Keywords: Bristol stool scale; defecation; stool.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study

MeSH terms

  • Child, Preschool
  • Defecation / physiology*
  • Feces*
  • Gastroenterology / methods*
  • Health Status Indicators*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Observer Variation
  • Photography

Associated data