Curbside Consultation of the Colon: 49 Clinical Questions

Brooks D. Cash, MD, FACP, CDR, MC, USN

Question 26: The Nursing Staff Doesn’T Know What To Do For A 72-Hour Stool Collection As Part Of A Diarrhea Workup. What Do I Need To Tell Them To Get The Answers I Need? (continued)

Brian Mulhall, MD

When the cause of chronic diarrhea is elusive or there is a suspicion for malabsorption, a 72-hour stool collection may be warranted.1 Many patients may report diarrhea, but it is important to realize that this term may be a subjective description of stool habits and may connote a variety of symptoms. Patients with 1 to 2 loose stools per day may report diarrhea as might patients who pass 3 to 4 formed stools per day. Recall that the medical definition of diarrhea is based on stool volume and requires more than 200 g of stool to be passed per day. A 72-hour stool collection serves as an…