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Table 5 Sensitivity, specificity, positive and negative predictive values for the five simple definitions compared to the Rome III criteria and modified Rome III criteria as gold standards

From: Defining constipation to estimate its prevalence in the community: results from a national survey

Gold standard Simple definition Sensitivity (95% Confidence interval) Specificity (95% Confidence interval) Positive Predictive Value (PPV) (95% Confidence interval) Negative Predictive Value (NPV) (95% Confidence interval)
Chronic constipation (Rome III criteria) Self-reported constipation over past 2 weeks 64.5% (60.2, 68.7) 87.7% (85.9, 89.2) 62.2% (57.9, 66.4) 88.7% (87.0, 90.2)
Self-reported constipation over past 3 months 72.0% (67.8, 75.8) 84.3% (82.4, 86.1) 59.2% (55.1, 63.0) 90.5% (88.9, 91.9)
Self-reported constipation over past 12 months 91.1% (88.8, 93.4) 51.3% (48.8, 53.8) 37.1% (34.4, 39.9) 94.5% (93.1, 96.1)
Fewer than 3 bowel motions per week over past 3 months 46.2% (41.8, 50.6) 88.8% (87.1, 90.2) 56.4% (51.5, 61.2) 84.0% (82.1, 85.7)
  Fewer than 3 bowel motions per week over past 12 months 17.3% (14.2, 20.1) 93.0% (91.7, 94.2) 44.0% (37.1, 51.1) 78.1% (76.2, 80.0)
Sub-chronic constipation (modified Rome III criteria) Self-reported constipation over past 2 weeks 50.6% (47.1, 54.0) 92.0% (90.3, 93.4) 80.5% (76.8, 83.7) 39.6% (37.5, 41.7)
Self-reported constipation over past 3 months 61.3% (57.9, 64.6) 91.9% (90.3, 93.3) 83.2% (80.0, 86.0) 78.4% (76.2, 80.4)
Self-reported constipation over past 12 months 84.3% (81.6, 86.6) 57.7% (54.9, 60.5) 56.6% (53.8, 59.4) 84.9% (82.3, 87.1)
Fewer than 3 bowel motions per week over past 3 months 42.1% (38.7, 45.5) 95.1% (93.7, 96.2) 84.9% (81.0, 88.1) 71.5% (69.2, 73.6)
Fewer than 3 bowel motions per week over past 12 months 16.9% (14.4, 19.6) 95.4% (94.1, 96.5) 70.7% (63.9, 76.7) 63.7% (61.4, 65.8)