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  • Jefferson Adams
    Jefferson Adams

    Complicated Celiac Disease Uncommon but Deadly

    Reviewed and edited by a celiac disease expert.

    Celiac.com 01/15/2014 - Complicated celiac disease is uncommon, but patients have high death rates, say a team of researchers, who recently set out to better understand the epidemiology of complications in patients with celiac disease.

    Photo: CC--vvracerThe research team included F. Biagi, P. Gobbi, A. Marchese, E. Borsotti, F. Zingone, C. Ciacci, U. Volta, G. Caio, A. Carroccio, G. Ambrosiano, P. Mansueto, G.R. Corazza. They are affiliated with the Coeliac Centre/First Department of Internal Medicine at the Fondazione IRCCS Policlinico San Matteo at the University of Pavia in Italy.

    The team conducted a retrospective multi-center case-control study based on collection of clinical and laboratory data. They looked at incidence of complicated celiac disease among celiac patients directly diagnosed in four Italian centers.

    Their study did not include patients referred to these centers after being diagnosed with celiac disease and/or complicated celiac disease at other facilities.

    Between January of 1999 and October 2011, the team followed-up on 1840 adult celiac patients, for a total of 7364.3 person-years. They found that fourteen patients developed complications to they celiac disease.

    Five patients died by the end of the observation period in October 2011, making the rates of complicated celiac disease nine cases out of 1835 celiac patients (1/204, 0.49%, 95% CI 0.2-0.9%).

    The annual rates of complicated celiac disease in the study period was 14 out of 7364 celiac patients, or about 0.2%, 95% CI 0.1-0.31%.

    Although complications tend to occur soon after the diagnosis of celiac disease, Kaplan-Meier curve analysis showed that they can actually occur at any time after the diagnosis of celiac disease.

    Overall, complications of celiac disease in this study group were quite rare, but those patients with complications faced very high mortality rates.

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    What kind of complications are you referring to? As a colon cancer survivor for over 36 years, 2 dozen incidences of kidney stones requiring several surgeries and a serious colon related issue 20 years ago (10 years before the celiac diagnosis) which left me with a permanent disability I often can't tell which one of these issues is causing the "problem of the day". I was the 1st person to have the colon resection surgery for the cancer. I was left with 6" of colon. The 1st kidney stone surgery required major surgery to remove a 5 cm. stone that did a lot of damage. The remainder of my colon ruptured in 1991 and caused a very large impacted abscess resulting in nerve problems in my legs (among other areas) and later arthritis. I am now have difficulty eating many foods. Not just those containing gluten, which I avoid religiously so if there are any other issues I need to be aware of I would be most appreciative.

    Thank you.

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  • About Me

    Jefferson Adams is Celiac.com's senior writer and Digital Content Director. He earned his B.A. and M.F.A. at Arizona State University, and has authored more than 2,000 articles on celiac disease. His coursework includes studies in biology, anatomy, medicine, science, and advanced research, and scientific methods. He previously served as SF Health News Examiner for Examiner.com, and devised health and medical content for Sharecare.com. Jefferson has spoken about celiac disease to the media, including an appearance on the KQED radio show Forum, and is the editor of the book "Cereal Killers" by Scott Adams and Ron Hoggan, Ed.D.

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