Published online May 21, 2016. doi: 10.3748/wjg.v22.i19.4757
Peer-review started: January 26, 2016
First decision: March 21, 2016
Revised: March 29, 2016
Accepted: April 7, 2016
Article in press: April 7, 2016
Published online: May 21, 2016
AIM: To explore Chinese physicians’ perceptions towards fecal microbiota transplantation (FMT) and to provide information and an assessment of FMT development in China.
METHODS: A self-administered questionnaire was developed according to the FMT practice guidelines and was distributed to physicians in hospitals via Internet Research Electronic Data Capture (REDcap) software and electronic mails to assess their attitudes toward and knowledge of FMT. The questionnaire included a brief introduction of FMT that was followed by 20 questions. The participants were required to respond voluntarily, under the condition of anonymity and without compensation. Except for the fill-in-the-blank questions, all of the other questions were required in the REDcap data collection systems, and the emailed questionnaires were completed based on eligibility.
RESULTS: Up to December 9, 2014, 844 eligible questionnaires were received out of the 980 distributed questionnaires, with a response rate of 86.1%. Among the participants, 87.3% were from tertiary hospitals, and there were 647 (76.7%) gastroenterologists and 197 (23.3%) physicians in other departments (non-gastroenterologists). Gastroenterologists’ awareness of FMT prior to the survey was much higher than non-gastroenterologists’ (54.3 vs 16.5%, P < 0.001); however, acceptance of FMT was not statistically different (92.4 vs 87.1%, P = 0.1603). Major concerns of FMT included the following: acceptability to patients (79.2%), absence of guidelines (56.9%), and administration and ethics (46.5%). On the basis of understanding, the FMT indications preferred by physicians were recurrent Clostridium difficile infection (86.7%), inflammatory bowel disease combined with Clostridium difficile infection (78.6%), refractory ulcerative colitis (70.9%), ulcerative colitis (65.4%), Crohn’s disease (59.4%), chronic constipation (43.7%), irritable bowel syndrome (39.1%), obesity (28.1%) and type 2 diabetes (23.9%). For donor selection, the majority of physicians preferred individuals with a similar gut flora environment to the recipients. 76.6% of physicians chose lower gastrointestinal tract as the administration approach. 69.2% of physicians considered FMT a safe treatment.
CONCLUSION: Chinese physicians have awareness and a high acceptance of FMT, especially gastroenterologists, which provides the grounds and conditions for the development of this novel treatment in China. Physicians’ greatest concerns were patient acceptability and absence of guidelines.
Core tip: Perceptions and attitudes toward fecal microbiota transplantation (FMT) by physicians and patients play an important role in determining its acceptability. We investigated Chinese physicians’ acceptance levels of FMT, their concerns about FMT, and their perspectives of FMT techniques. The few data about the perceptions of physicians toward FMT are all from Western countries; this is the first study of physicians’ perceptions of FMT in an Asian country. Additionally, our study was representative with a large respondent number (844) and a large coverage area of China (22 out of 34 provinces); thus it can provide preliminary information for the development of FMT in China.