Background/aims: Evidence of an increased bone fracture risk in coeliac disease is on debate. Our aim was to review systematically the current published information on fractures in coeliac disease and to perform a meta-analysis.
Methods: Case-control and cohort designs were identified by searching MEDLINE (1966-April 2007) and LILACS (1982-April 2007). Participants were adult coeliac disease patients of any sex and the outcome measure was the presence of any fracture. Studies were screened for inclusion by two authors who independently extracted the data. Methodological quality was assessed using the STROBE (Strengthening the Reporting of Observational Studies in Epidemiology Statement) recommendations. Data were analysed using the RevMan Analyses statistical package in Review Manager (version 4.2.8) and reported as pooled odds ratio using a random effect model. Heterogeneity was investigated (standard chi(2) test) and sensitivity analysis was performed based on the reported quality and design type.
Results: While 60 of 405 studies met the initial screening criteria, only 8 met inclusion criteria after detailed review. These studies evaluated a total of 20,955 coeliac disease patients having 1819 (8.7%) fractures and 96,777 controls with 5955 (6.1%) fractures (pooled odds ratio=1.43; 95% confidence interval 1.15-1.78) with considerable heterogeneity among studies (p<0.00001).
Conclusions: Our meta-analysis confirms a significant association between bone fractures and coeliac disease. However, qualitative and quantitative differences among studies were evident. Further research is necessary to investigate the relevance of this heterogeneity.