The British Journal of General Practice vol:53 issue:486 pages:31-5
BACKGROUND: The diagnostic value and the impact of some signs and symptoms in most diseases in primary care have only been studied incompletely. AIM: To assess the diagnostic value of macroscopic haematuria for the idagnosis of urological cancer (bladder, kidney) in a general practice setting, as well the influence of age, sex, and some additional signs and symptoms. DESIGN OF STUDY: Diagnostic study. SETTING: The study was performed in a sentinel station network of general practices in Belgium, covering almost 1% of the population. SUBJECTS: All patients attending their general practitioner and complaining of haematuria during 1993 and 1994 were included for the prospective part of the study. Every patient diagnosed with a urological cancer in this period was registered for the retrospective part. METHOD: Mean outcome measures of sensitivity, specificity, positive and negative predictive value, and positive and negative likelihood ratio were used to assess diagnostic value. RESULTS: Within the registration year 1993-1994, patient-doctor encounters, related to 83,890 patient-years, were registered. The positive predictive value (PPV) for urological cancer was 10.3% (95% CI = 7.6% to 13.7%). Sensitivity was 59.5% (95% CI = 50.4% to 60.1%). The PPV of patients aged over 60 years was 22.1% (95% CI = 15.8% to 30.1%) for men and 8.3% (95% CI = 3.4% to 17.9%) for women. In the age group 40 to 59 years, the PPV was 3.6% (95% CI = 0.6% to 13.4%) for men and 6.4% (95% CI = 1.7% to 18.6%) for women. In the prospective part of the study, no urological cancer was found in the age group under 40 years. CONCLUSION: Men older than 60 years of age with macroscopic haematuria have a high positive predictive value for urological cancer. In these patients, a thorough investigation is indicated. In patients over 40 years of age of either sex, referral or watchful waiting can be justified.