Is coeliac disease screening in risk groups justified? A fourteen-year follow-up with special focus on compliance and quality of life

Aliment Pharmacol Ther. 2005 Aug 15;22(4):317-24. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2036.2005.02574.x.


Background: The benefits of serologic screening for coeliac disease in asymptomatic individuals are debatable.

Aim: To investigate dietary compliance, quality of life and bone mineral density after long-term treatment in coeliac disease patients found by screening in risk groups.

Methods: The study comprised 53 consecutive screen-detected coeliac patients diagnosed 14 years (median) ago. Dietary compliance was assessed by interview, 4-day food record and serology. Quality of life was evaluated by the Psychological General Well-Being and SF-36 questionnaires, gastrointestinal symptoms by the Gastrointestinal Symptom Rating Scale and bone mineral density by dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry. Comparisons were made to 44 symptom-detected-treated coeliac patients, 110 non-coeliac subjects and the general population.

Results: A total of 96% of screen-detected and 93% of symptom-detected coeliac patients adhered to a strict or fairly strict gluten-free diet. In screen-detected patients, quality of life and gastrointestinal symptoms were similar to those in symptom-detected patients or non-coeliac controls and bone mineral density was similar to that in the general population.

Conclusions: Long-term dietary compliance in screen-detected patients was good. Quality of life and bone mineral density were comparable with those in non-coeliac subjects and the general population. Active screening in coeliac disease risk groups seems to be reasonable rather than harmful.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Body Mass Index
  • Bone Density
  • Celiac Disease / diet therapy
  • Celiac Disease / prevention & control*
  • Female
  • Fractures, Bone / etiology
  • Gastrointestinal Diseases / etiology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mass Screening / methods*
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Compliance
  • Quality of Life
  • Risk Factors