We're unable to sign you in at this time. Please try again in a few minutes.
We were able to sign you in, but your subscription(s) could not be found. Please try again in a few minutes.
There may be a problem with your account. Please contact the AMA Service Center to resolve this issue.
Contact the AMA Service Center:
Telephone: 1 (800) 262-2350 or 1 (312) 670-7827  *   Email: subscriptions@jamanetwork.com
Error Message ......
Article |

Diagnostic Yield of a Positive Fecal Occult Blood Test Found on Digital Rectal Examination Does the Finger Count?

Mark S. Eisner, MD; James H. Lewis, MD
Arch Intern Med. 1991;151(11):2180-2184. doi:10.1001/archinte.1991.00400110044009.
Text Size: A A A
Published online


The value of a positive fecal occult blood test (FOBT) found at the time of digital rectal examination is disputed. To determine the significance of a positive FOBT obtained in this manner, the records of 270 patients who underwent colonoscopy for any positive FOBT were retrospectively reviewed. Occult blood was found in 144 patients at the time of digital rectal examination and in 126 individuals after they submitted three spontaneously passed stool specimens. Of the patients with a positive FOBT on rectal examination, 77% were hospitalized at the time compared with only 17% of those with positive FOBTs from spontaneously passed stools. The frequency of colonic abnormalities was similar with both stool collection methods in inpatients and outpatients. No statistically significant differences in neoplastic polyp or colon cancer detection rates, nor in the finding of hemorrhoids or other anorectal abnormalities, were apparent. Therefore, the belief that a positive FOBT found at the time of digital examination can or should be discounted as a false positive (because of the presence of hemorrhoids or other lesions prone to trauma at the time of digital examination) was not substantiated by this study.

(Arch Intern Med. 1991;151:2180-2184)


Sign in

Purchase Options

• Buy this article
• Subscribe to the journal
• Rent this article ?





Also Meets CME requirements for:
Browse CME for all U.S. States
Accreditation Information
The American Medical Association is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education to provide continuing medical education for physicians. The AMA designates this journal-based CME activity for a maximum of 1 AMA PRA Category 1 CreditTM per course. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity. Physicians who complete the CME course and score at least 80% correct on the quiz are eligible for AMA PRA Category 1 CreditTM.
Note: You must get at least of the answers correct to pass this quiz.
Please click the checkbox indicating that you have read the full article in order to submit your answers.
Your answers have been saved for later.
You have not filled in all the answers to complete this quiz
The following questions were not answered:
Sorry, you have unsuccessfully completed this CME quiz with a score of
The following questions were not answered correctly:
Commitment to Change (optional):
Indicate what change(s) you will implement in your practice, if any, based on this CME course.
Your quiz results:
The filled radio buttons indicate your responses. The preferred responses are highlighted
For CME Course: A Proposed Model for Initial Assessment and Management of Acute Heart Failure Syndromes
Indicate what changes(s) you will implement in your practice, if any, based on this CME course.


Some tools below are only available to our subscribers or users with an online account.

27 Citations

Sign in

Purchase Options

• Buy this article
• Subscribe to the journal
• Rent this article ?

Related Content

Customize your page view by dragging & repositioning the boxes below.