Effects of multidisciplinary education on outcomes in patients with irritable bowel syndrome

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Background & Aims:

The impact of education on irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is not well known. This study evaluated the effect of a onetime group education program on patient-based outcomes in IBS.


All adults referred by Mayo Clinic physicians to the Gastroenterology Division with a diagnosis of IBS between May 1997 and March 1998 were asked to participate. Questionnaires were administered at baseline and 6 months. Symptom resolution, change in pain severity, quality of life, Health-Promoting Lifestyle Profile score, overall patient satisfaction, and health care utilization were compared among those patients who attended the multidisciplinary class and those who did not.


Of the 506 patients approached, 403 (80%) agreed to participate. The clinical diagnosis was confirmed in 344 patients (85%) on chart review; 211 patients (61%) subsequently completed a follow-up questionnaire. Overall, 29% of class attendees who met Rome criteria for IBS at baseline no longer met Rome criteria at follow-up, compared with 7% of nonattendees. By multivariate analysis, class attendance predicted higher odds of not meeting Rome criteria at follow-up in individuals meeting Rome criteria at baseline (odds ratio, 7.91; 95% confidence interval, 0.97–64.41) than in nonattendees, but the opposite effect was seen with class attendance in those not meeting Rome criteria at baseline. This interaction between baseline Rome status and class attendance was significant (P< 0.05). Class attendance was associated with improvement in Health-Promoting Lifestyle Profile scores (P< 0.05) but not with change in pain, quality of life, satisfaction, or health care utilization.


A onetime, multidisciplinary class for patients with IBS was associated with improvement in symptoms and health-promoting lifestyle behavior.

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