Celiac.com 09/22/2008 - People diagnosed with celiac disease in adulthood face a slightly higher risk of developing a severe infection called pneumococcal sepsis, according to the results of a study published in the August issue of the journal Gut.

A Swedish research team led by Dr. Jonas F. Ludvigsson, of Orebro University Hospital, Sweden reviewed data gathered from the Swedish National Inpatient Register to assess the risk faced by people with celiac disease of developing sepsis. The researchers looked at 15,325 patients with a diagnosis of celiac disease, 14,494 inpatient reference subjects, and as many as five reference individuals per case from the general population.

People diagnosed with celiac disease as adults developed sepsis at slightly higher levels than inpatient reference patients (HR = 1.5, p = 0.006). The elevated risk for sepsis was also seen when celiac disease patients were compared with reference subjects from the general population (HR = 2.6, p < 0.001). Celiac disease patients diagnosed in childhood showed a slightly elevated increased risk of sepsis when compared to the general population (HR = 1.8, p = 0.003).

According to Dr. Ludvigsson’s team, this elevated risk of developing pneumococcal sepsis faced by people with celiac disease might be due to a condition called hyposplenism, but the study’s small size, and it’s lack of data on spleen size made it impossible to make a firm conclusion as to the cause.

Gut 2008;57:1074-1080.

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