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How Long to Abstain from Eating Red Meat before Fecal Occult Blood Tests

Elliot J. Feinberg, MD; William M. Steinberg, MD; Bonnie L. Banks, BA; and James P. Henry, BS
[+] Article, Author, and Disclosure Information

Grant Support: By grants from SmithKline Diagnostics Inc., San Jose, California and the SmithKline Beecham Clinical Laboratories, Van Nuys, California.

Requests for Reprints: William M. Steinberg, MD, Division of Gastroenterology, The George Washington University Medical Center, 2150 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20037.

Current Author Addresses: Dr. Steinberg, Ms. Banks, and Mr. Henry: The George Washington University, Department of Medicine, Division of Gastroenterology and Nutrition, 2150 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20037.

Dr. Feinberg: Rhode Island Hospital and Brown University, Division of Gastroenterology, APC Building, Room 421, 593 Eddy Street, Providence, RI 02902.

Ann Intern Med. 1990;113(5):403-404. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-113-5-403
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This excerpt has been provided in the absence of an abstract.

Hemoccult's long recognized use for colon cancer screening (1, 2) has recently been challenged by newer fecal occult blood tests with reputed advantages in sensitivity and specificity.

The HemoQuant quantitatively measures the concentration of heme-derived porphyrins (3, 4). The Hemoccult SENSA, a modified guaiac-based test, reportedly detects lower levels of hemoglobin, thereby increasing sensitivity (5). The HemeSelect, using an antihuman hemoglobin antibody, is reported to be highly sensitive and specific (6, 7). Although dietary constituents, especially red meat, can increase the false-positive rate of the Hemoccult (1, 2, 8, 9), Hemoccult SENSA (5), and HemoQuant (4) tests, the comparative duration


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