Case-finding for coeliac disease in secondary care: a prospective multicentre UK study
BACKGROUND: Coeliac disease affects 1% of the population. Despite this high prevalence, the majority of individuals are undetected. Many patients present with subtle symptoms which may also contribute to under diagnosis. Our aim was to determine the relative importance of different presenting characteristics. METHODS: Unselected gastroenterology patients referred to 4 hospitals in South Yorkshire were investigated for coeliac disease. Diagnosis was based on positive serology and the presence of villous atrophy. Odds ratios were calculated for presenting characteristics and multivariate analysis performed to identify independent risk factors. RESULTS: 4089 patients were assessed (41.5% male, mean age 55.8 ± 18.2 years); 129 had coeliac disease (3.2%, 95% CI 2.6-3.7%). Multivariate analysis of patients referred to secondary care showed family history of coeliac disease (OR 1.26, p < 0.0001), anaemia (OR 1.03, p < 0.0001) and osteoporosis (OR 1.1, p = 0.006) were independent risk factors for diagnosis of coeliac disease. When compared to population controls, diarrhoea (OR 4.1, p < 0.0001), weight loss (OR 2.7, p = 0.02), irritable bowel syndrome symptoms (OR 3.2, p = 0.005) thyroid disease (OR 4.4, p = 0.01) and diabetes (OR 3.0, p = 0.05) were also associated with increased coeliac disease risk. CONCLUSIONS: Coeliac disease accounts for 1 in 31 referrals in secondary care to unselected gastroenterology clinics. A low threshold for coeliac disease testing should be adopted.
Dear, Keith L