Background: The objective of this study was to estimate the (selective) proportion of patients consulting their GP for an episode of gastroenteritis for whom laboratory tests were requested. In addition adherence of GPs to the guidelines for diagnostic test regime was ascertained. Methods: Data were collected from a GP network in the Netherlands. Information was also collected on the reason for requesting the test, test specifications, and test results. Results: For 12% of the GP patients with gastroenteritis, a stool sample was requested and tested for enteric pathogens. In most patients, the duration, followed by severity of complaints or a visit to a specific, high-risk country were reported as reasons to request laboratory diagnostics. Tests were requested most often in summer months and in February. Campylobacter (requested for 87% of the tests), Salmonella (84%), Shigella (78%) and Yersinia (56%) were most frequently included in the stool tests. Campylobacter was detected most often in patients. Conclusion: Test requests did not always comply with existing knowledge of the etiology of gastroenteritis in GP patients and were not always consistent with the Dutch GP guidelines. Therefore, the data of this study can be used to develop educational approaches for GP's as well as for revision of the guidelines.
BMC Family Practice
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

van den Brandhof, W. E., Bartelds, A., Koopmans, M., D.V.M., & van Duynhoven, I. T. H. P. (2006). General practitioner practices in requesting laboratory tests for patients with gastroenteritis in the Netherlands, 2001–2002. BMC Family Practice. Retrieved from