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University Hospital Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust announces study which hopes to reduce the demand for colonoscopies within the NHS

University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire (UHCW) NHS Trust is investigating whether a new dual testing method can improve the diagnostic accuracy for patients with suspected significant bowel disease (SBD) - without the need for a colonoscopy.

The ‘REducing Colonoscopies in Patients without Significant BowEl DiseasE’ (RECEDE) study is set to recruit 1,819 patients who are referred for colonoscopies at participating sites within the UK due to persistent lower gastrointestinal symptoms.

RECEDE will introduce urinary volatile organic compound (VOC) analysis alongside faecal immunochemical testing (FIT) to detect patients who do or do not have SBD, including colorectal cancer, before a colonoscopy is required.

Should the study be a success, the testing method could reduce the demand for colonoscopies in NHS Trusts across the UK, which can be invasive and uncomfortable for patients and have high cost implications for the NHS.

Coventry resident John Todd, who was diagnosed with a Neuro Endocrinal Tumour in 2013 and is a member of the UHCW NHS Trust Research Advisory Group, believes the research could prove to be hugely beneficial to patients and the standard of care they receive.

The 65-year-old said: “Anticipation of and preparation for a colonoscopy were the worst parts of the diagnostic process for me and a colonoscopy can be uncomfortable. Reducing the numbers who have to go through this process would be a significant step forward in improving patient care.”

Currently all patients who are referred to hospital with lower gastrointestinal symptoms receive a colonoscopy. Of these, only around 30% have a serious condition while the remainder either have benign conditions or no problems whatsoever.

Study participants will see no change to the standard of care they receive and will only be asked to provide a stool and urine sample prior to having their colonoscopy. Samples will be sent for analysis where the results will be compared to the histology findings of the colonoscopies.

A subset of participants will be asked to complete questionnaires surrounding their colonoscopy to further examine how the procedure affects a patient’s quality of life.

RECEDE has been set up by Professor and Consultant Gastroenterologist Ramesh Arasaradnam with the support of the in house Trial Management Unit at the sponsor site UHCW NHS Trust, which has received funding from the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) for the project.

Professor Arasaradnam said: ‘’This important study supported by the NIHR seeks to evaluate stool FIT and urine volatile markers to detect those with SBD. It is anticipated we will be able to identify those at risk of SBD and prioritise this group to have a colonoscopy.

“Reducing unnecessary colonoscopies has important implications, especially in the COVID era. We envisage results from this study will help cancer alliances and commissioning groups streamline clinical pathways and also guide NICE in any future recommendations.’’

The RECEDE study is being conducted in collaboration with the University of Warwick, the University of Manchester and the University of Leeds.

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