Table 3.

Details of test use for relatively increasing tests

Name of testMean age (SD), yearsMale, n (%)Frequent diagnoses/symptomsIncidence rate ratio (95% CI)aTests per patientb (SD)
200520092005200920052009
Faecal occult blood62.67 (17.37)63.52 (13.17)60 (41.38)170 (43.04)Number (%) with any diagnosis/symptom recorded in the 2 weeks pre-test = 671 (51.42)1.56 (0.84)1.14 (0.46)c
Iron deficiency anaemia (n = 52)23.54 (14.30 to 38.75)
Activities related to digestive/abdominal S&S (n = 144)14.06 (10.91 to 18.12)
Digestive/abdominal S&S (n = 266)3.46 (3.01 to 3.98)
C-reactive protein52.44 (19.96)53.70 (19.72)c566 (35.22)1300 (34.23)Number (%) with any diagnosis/symptom recorded in the 2 weeks pre-test = 6342 (48.77)1.31 (1.09)1.43 (1.41)d
Rheumatoid arthritis and systemic connective tissue disorders (n = 320)4.35 (3.82 to 4.96)
Activities related to neurological/musculoskeletal S&S (n = 131)3.95 (3.23 to 4.84)
Joint disorders w/e (n = 476)3.12 (2.82 to 3.46)
Soft tissue disorders (n = 663)2.28 (2.09 to 2.48)
Diseases of intestines and peritoneum w/e (n = 193)2.25 (1.92 to 2.63)
Haematinics53.70 (21.53)53.08 (21.12)325 (27.11)836 (30.85)cNumber (%) with any diagnosis/symptom recorded in the 2 weeks pre-test = 5062 (53.18)1.21 (0.54)1.23 (0.56)
Anaemias excluding iron deficiency (n = 117)7.79 (6.12 to 9.92)
Iron-deficiency anaemia (n = 125)6.05 (4.84 to 7.56)
Diseases of the oral cavity, salivary glands and jaws w/e (n = 71)5.03 (3.78 to 6.69)
Immunoglobulins40.07 (19.06)41.98 (18.97)48 (18.18)131 (23.48)Number (%) with any diagnosis/symptom recorded in the 2 weeks pre-test (%) = 1359 (64.47)1.55 (1.18 to 2.04)1.05 (0.29)1.08 (0.37)
Skin S&S (n = 59)
Serum iron studies54.22 (23.60)53.13 (21.67)42 (27.45)94 (27.57)Number (%) with any diagnosis/symptom recorded in the 2 weeks pre-test (%) = 771 (59.81)1.17 (0.50)1.12 (0.39)
Fatigue, tiredness, malaise and dizziness (n = 82)1.78 (1.41 to 2.24)
Diseases of the skin and subcutaneous tissue w/e (n = 62)1.74 (1.33 to 2.26)
  • n = number of times the symptoms was recorded in the 2 weeks prior to the test in the patients receiving the test. SD = standard deviation. S&S = signs and symptoms. w/e = with specific exclusions.

  • a Comparing the relative frequency of Read Code groups recorded in patients who had that test (cases) compared with a cohort of patients matched on sex, age, and geographic region (controls) who underwent a different laboratory test in the same quarter of the year as the case.

  • b Average number of tests per patient per year, given that they had at least one test in that year.

  • c Significant at the 0.1% level when fitting a Poisson model (tests per patient), linear model (age); logistic model (% male) with year as covariate.

  • d Significant at the 1% level.