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Papers And Originals

Prognosis in Early Adult Life of Coeliac Children Treated with a Gluten-free Diet

Br Med J 1969; 2 doi: (Published 17 May 1969) Cite this as: Br Med J 1969;2:401
  1. Wilfrid Sheldon


    Long-term follow up of 57 young adults with coeliac disease diagnosed in childhood showed that 13 had relapsed clinically and had resumed a gluten-free diet Of the remainder, who were taking a normal diet and were apparently normal, 19 had low serum folate levels and 11 low serum iron levels. Pregnancy was found particularly likely to provoke an overt relapse.

    Only six patients were found to be stunted in height, while the menarche had occurred within the average range. The study also confirmed the very low present-daymortality rate of coeliac disease in childhood, which at the Hospital for Sick Children in London has been 0·4% between 1951 and 1968. In view of the finding that childhood coeliac disease usually persists, even though not causing symptoms, it is suggested that the use of a gluten-free diet should be lifelong.


    • * An abstract of this paper was given at the B.M.A. Clinical Meeting in Malta in April 1969.