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Prell, Christine; Nagel, Dorothea; Freudenberg, Folke; Schwarzer, Andrea and Koletzko, Sibylle (2014): Comparison of three tests for faecal calprotectin in children and young adults: a retrospective monocentric study. In: BMJ Open, Vol. 4, No. 5, e004558 [PDF, 810kB]


Objective: Faecal calprotectin is used as a sensitive marker for gastrointestinal mucosal inflammation. We compared the performance of three different assays in a large cohort of symptomatic paediatric patients. Design: Retrospective monocentric study. Setting: Inpatients and outpatients of a tertiary referral centre for paediatric gastroenterology. Participants: 304 symptomatic patients (163 males, aged 2-20 years) with active inflammatory bowel disease (IBD/A, n=130),IBD in clinical remission (IBD/R, n=62),other intestinal diseases (n=45) and controls without identified intestinal disease (n=67). Interventions: Calprotectin was measured in homogenised faecal samples with three tests (A: EliA Calprotectin, Phadia AB, Sweden;B: PhiCal, Calpro AS, Norway;C: EK-Cal, Buhlmann Laboratories, Switzerland). Outcomes: Concordance between tests was calculated using Kendall's tau coefficient. Results: IBD/A and controls were correctly classified as 97.7%/82.1% (A),97.7%/85.1% (B) and 98.4%/62.7% (C;not significant). Test C tended to have higher calprotectin values with a lower specificity compared to tests A and B. The concordance between two tests was 0.835 for tests A and B, 0.782 for tests A and C and 0.765 for tests B and C. Conclusions: All three tests are very sensitive for detecting mucosal inflammation, but major differences exist between specificity and absolute values. It is highly advisable to use the test of the same manufacturer for follow-up and to monitor for disease activity.

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