BACKGROUND & AIMS:
An increasing number of physicians use repeated measurements of stool calprotectin to monitor intestinal inflammation in patients with inflammatory bowel diseases (IBDs). A lateral flow-based rapid test allows patients to measure their own stool calprotectin values at home. The test comes with a software application (IBDoc; Bühlmann Laboratories AG, Schönenbuch, Switzerland) that turns a smartphone camera into a results reader. We compared results from this method with those from the hospital-based reader (Quantum Blue; Bühlmann Laboratories AG) and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) analysis.
In a single-center comparison study, we asked 101 participants (10 years of age or older) in the Netherlands to perform the IBDoc measurement on stool samples collected at home, from June 2015 to October 2016. Participants then sent the residual extraction fluid and a fresh specimen from the same bowel movement to our pediatric and adult IBD center at the University Medical Center Groningen, where the level of calprotectin was measured by the Quantum Blue reader and ELISA analysis, respectively. The primary outcome was the agreement of results between IBDoc and the Quantum Blue and ELISA analyses, determined by Bland-Altman plot analysis.
We received 152 IBDoc results, 138 samples of residual extraction fluid for Quantum Blue analysis, and 170 fresh stool samples for ELISA analysis. Spearman's rank correlation coefficient was 0.94 for results obtained by IBDoc vs Quantum Blue and 0.85 for results obtained by IBDoc vs ELISA. At the low range of calprotectin level (<500 μg/g), 91% of IBDoc-Quantum Blue results were within the predefined limits of agreement (±100 μg/g), and 71% of IBDoc-ELISA results were in agreement. At the high range of calprotectin level (≥500 μg/g), 81% of IBDoc-Quantum Blue results were within the predefined limits of agreement (±200 μg/g) and 64% of IBDoc-ELISA results were in agreement.
Measurements of fecal levels of calprotectin made with home-based lateral flow method were in agreement with measurements made by Quantum Blue and ELISA, as long as concentrations were <500 μg/g. For patients with concentrations of fecal calprotectin above this level, findings from IBDoc should be confirmed by another method. (Netherlands Trial Registration Number: NTR5133).