Celiac.com 06/01/2015 - Earlier research on celiac disease and neuropathy has been hampered by the use of inpatient data, low study power, and lack of information on neuropathic characteristics.

Image: CC--Margherita J. L. LisoniA team of researchers recently set out to accurately assess both relative and absolute risk of developing neuropathy in a nationwide population-based sample of patients with biopsy-verified celiac disease. The research team included Sujata P. Thawani, MD, MPH; Thomas H. Brannagan III, MD; Benjamin Lebwohl, MD, MS; Peter H. R. Green, MD; and Jonas F. Ludvigsson, MD, PhD.

They are variously affiliated with the Peripheral Neuropathy Center at the Neurological Institute of Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, the Celiac Disease Center in the Department of Medicine at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons in New York, New York, with the Department of Medical Epidemiology and Biostatistics at the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, Sweden, and with the Department of Pediatrics, Örebro University Hospital, Örebro University, Örebro, Sweden.

For their study, the team collected data on small-intestinal biopsies conducted at Sweden’s 28 pathology departments from 1969 to 2008. They compared the risk of neuropathy in a total of 28 ,232 celiac disease patients, all with villous atrophy, Marsh 3, against results from 139, 473 age- and sex-matched non-celiac control subjects.

They used Cox proportional hazards regression to estimate hazard ratios (HRs), and 95% confidence intervals (CIs), for neuropathy as defined by relevant International Classification of Diseases codes in the Swedish National Patient Register; including both inpatient and outpatient data.

They found that patients with biopsy-verified celiac disease faced a 2.5 times higher risk of developing neuropathy (95% CI, 2.1-3.0; P < .001). Celiac patients also had an increased risk of developing chronic inflammatory demyelinating neuropathy (2.8; 1.6-5.1; P = .001), autonomic neuropathy (4.2; 1.4-12.3; P = .009), and mononeuritis multiplex (7.6; 1.8-32.4; P = .006).

However, the team found no association between celiac disease and acute inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy (0.8; 0.3-2.1; P = .68).

The team found a significantly increased risk of neuropathy in patients with celiac disease, and they are recommending that doctors screen patients with neuropathy for celiac disease.

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