Chronic Diarrhea – Diagnostic Dilemma

Chronic diarrhea generally refers to a duration of illness lasting at least 4 weeks and is fairly common with rates projected as high as 5% annually for the general population. Gathering a good history is key in guiding workup. While most infectious etiologies are excluded once the duration of illness meets the 4-week threshold, some pathogens, particularly C. difficile, Giardia, Yersinia, and Aeromonas may have a more indolent course. An excellent approach is found below in this algorithm:

Chronic Diarrhea Algorithm

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Best Practice & Research Clinical Gastroenterology 26 (2012) 551–562