Celiac.com 01/05/2015 - Doctors recommend medical follow-up of celiac disease patients for gluten-free diet (GFD) adherence monitoring and complication detection. But, what happens to celiac kids who don’t get good medical follow-up?
A team of researchers recently tried to figure out how the LTFU kids fared health-wise compared to kids who did receive follow-up, and what barriers the LTFU kids might face in successfully following a gluten-free diet.
They had previously shown that 35% of children with celiac disease were lost to follow-up (LTFU), that is, they did not receive follow-up care for their celiac disease. The study team used a telephone questionnaire to assess 50 LTFU patients regarding frequency of follow-up, serology testing, and adherence to GFD measured by validated Biagi score. They had fifty two regular follow-up patients serve as a control group.
The results showed that the LTFU patients had poor adherence to GFD, with an average Biagi score of 2.0 ± 1.4, compared to control scores of 3.0 ± 1.0 (p < 0.001).
Only 22% of LTFU performed periodic celiac serology testing compared to 82% of the control group (p < 0.001).
Fifty percent of the LTFU kids had higher prevalence of positive celiac serology tests, compared to 25% of controls, (p = 0.01).
Just 24% of LTFU kids were National Celiac Association members, compared with 44% of control kids (p = 0.05).
Regression analysis showed positive relationships between LTFU and poor adherence to GFD (R2 = 0.26737, p = 0.001), older age at diagnosis (R2 = 0.30046, p = 0.03), and non-membership in a celiac association (R2 = 0.18591, p = 0.0001).
So, when the dust settled, the study showed that children LTFU were more likely to not follow a strictly gluten-free diet, and to have positive blood tests for anti-gluten antibodies. Accordingly, the team recommends that risk factors for LFTU be identified and addressed in order to improve patient care.