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Irritable bowel syndrome and active inflammatory bowel disease diagnosed by faecal gas analysis

Aggio, R. B.M.; White, P.; Jayasena, H.; de Lacy Costello, B.; Ratcliffe, N. M.; Probert, C. S.J.


R. B.M. Aggio

Paul White
Associate Professor in Applied Statistics

H. Jayasena

C. S.J. Probert


© 2016 John Wiley & Sons Ltd Background: Inflammatory bowel disease and irritable bowel syndrome may present in a similar manner. Measuring faecal calprotectin concentration is often recommended to rule out inflammatory bowel disease, however, there are no tests to positively diagnose irritable bowel syndrome and invasive tests are still used to rule out other pathologies. Aim: To investigate a platform technology for diagnosing inflammatory bowel disease and irritable bowel syndrome based on faecal gas.

Methods: The platform technology is composed of a gas chromatography column coupled to a metal oxide gas sensor (OdoReader) and a computer algorithm. The OdoReader separates the volatile compounds from faecal gas and the computer algorithm identifies resistance patterns associated with specific medical conditions and builds classification models. This platform was applied to faecal samples from 152 patients: 33 patients with active inflammatory bowel disease; 50 patients with inactive inflammatory bowel disease; 28 patients with irritable bowel syndrome and 41 healthy donors (Control).

Results: The platform classified samples with accuracies from 75% to 100% using rigorous validation schemes: namely leave-one-out cross-validation, 10-fold cross-validation, double cross-validation and their Monte Carlo variations. The most clinically important findings, after double cross-validation, were the accuracy of active Crohn's disease vs. irritable bowel syndrome (87%; CI 84–89%) and irritable bowel syndrome vs. controls (78%; CI 76–80%). These schemes provide an estimate of out-of-sample predictive accuracy for similar populations.

Conclusions: This is the first description of an investigation for the positive diagnosis of irritable bowel syndrome, and for diagnosing inflammatory bowel disease.


Aggio, R. B., White, P., Jayasena, H., de Lacy Costello, B., Ratcliffe, N. M., & Probert, C. S. (2017). Irritable bowel syndrome and active inflammatory bowel disease diagnosed by faecal gas analysis. Alimentary Pharmacology and Therapeutics, 45(1), 82-90.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Sep 14, 2016
Online Publication Date Nov 10, 2016
Publication Date Jan 1, 2017
Deposit Date Nov 14, 2016
Journal Alimentary Pharmacology and Therapeutics
Print ISSN 0269-2813
Electronic ISSN 1365-2036
Publisher Wiley
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 45
Issue 1
Pages 82-90
Keywords irritable, bowel, syndrome, active, inflammatory, bowel, disease, faecal, gas, analysis
Public URL
Publisher URL


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