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.