Background: Irritable bowel syndrome is one of the most commonly encountered gastrointestinal disorders, for which there are no established diagnostic criteria. Thus, a diagnosis of IBS is made by exclusion of any organic diseases. Recently, important attempts for the positive diagnosis of irritable bowel syndrome by questionnaire surveys of physical symptoms have been made. We performed a questionnaire survey to evaluate the diagnostic value of the Manning criteria and to observe the major symptoms in irritable bowel syndrome.
Methods: A symptom questionnaire which consisted of 22 items, including 6 cardinal symptoms of the Manning criteria, were answered by 172 outpatients who had gastrointestinal complaints. According to a final diagnosis based on independent clinical evaluation, all patients were categorized in three groups: irritable bowel syndrome group, nonulcer dyspepsia group and organic gastrointestinal disease group. The results of the questionnaire were analyzed for each group.
Results: The sensitivity and specificity of the Manning criteria for the diagnosis of irritable bowel syndrome were 67% and 70% if three or more items were regarded as positive. The mean score and overall frequency of the Manning criteria were significantly higher in irritable bowel syndrome group than in nonuclear dyspepsia (p < 0.01) or organic gastrointestinal disease group (p < 0.05). Among subgroups of the irritable bowel syndrome group, the pain-predominant subgroup showed a significantly higher score and overall frequency than the painless subgroup (p < 0.05).
Conclusions: The Manning criteria would be useful as a simple and reliable backup tool for the diagnosis of irritable bowel syndrome and seem to be more useful in pain-predominant subgroup. More detailed history-taking should prevent unnecessary extensive investigations for the diagnosis of irritable bowel syndrome.