Dr. Luc Biedermann, MD, from University Hospital Zurich in Switzerland, discusses his poster presentation on diagnostic delay in celiac disease during Digestive Diseases Week 2015 in Washington, DC.
Dr. Lieberman begins with the following observations:
• there is a substantial diagnostic delay in celiac disease ranging from several months up to 6-9 years.
• that men and women delayed for approximately the same length of time, their first visit to their doctors after the first onset of symptoms
• a suspicion or diagnosis of irritable bowel syndrome created a delay in diagnosis in equal proportion among men and women
Part I of the Study: “The idea of our study was to investigate further how much of diagnostic delay in celiac disease is on the side of the patient and how much is on the side of the doctors.”
One interesting finding, he said, was a substantial sex difference in terms of diagnostic delay. “Doctors delay in women is significantly longer compared to men, so this is the reason underlying the increased total delay in women compared to men.”
Part II of the Study: “We also wanted to find out if a longer diagnostic delay in celiac disease somewhat translates into worse clinical outcomes.”
Dr. Lieberman determined that patients with a longer diagnostic delay exhibited the following:
• a lower probability of being free of symptoms within 6-9 months after initiation of a gluten-free diet.
• significantly more often had a deficiency of iron, vitamin D, E and calcium
• a significant fraction were in need of immunosuppressants and steroid therapy
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