Comparison of the Rome IV and Rome III criteria for IBS diagnosis: A cross-sectional survey

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Background and Aims:

The aims of this study were to investigate the proportion of clinical irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) at a tertiary hospital in China, to compare the Rome III and Rome IV criteria with regard to IBS diagnosis, to describe the agreement between the Rome III and Rome IV criteria, and to identify differences between Rome IV-positive and -negative IBS patients.


A cross-sectional survey was performed among outpatients in the gastrointestinal (GI) department of a tertiary hospital. The patients were categorized as having IBS using Rome III and Rome IV criteria.


In total, 1,376 (91.7%) patients completed a GI symptom questionnaire. Among them, 352 were suspected of having IBS and 175 were diagnosed with IBS using the Rome III or Rome IV criteria. In particular, 170 (12.4%) patients were diagnosed with IBS using the Rome III criteria, and 84 (6.1%) patients were diagnosed using the Rome IV criteria. Rome IV IBS patients experienced more pain symptoms (P<0.01) and showed higher IBS severity scores. In contrast, no significant differences were noted for demographic characteristics, stool frequency, IBS subtype, disease course, operation history or GI infection history between Rome IV IBS patients and IBS patients not diagnosed with the Rome IV criteria.


Rome IV-positive IBS patients represented approximately half of Rome III-positive IBS patients at a tertiary hospital in China. More specifically, Rome IV-positive IBS was mainly a subgroup of Rome III-positive IBS with more serious symptoms.

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