Screening for celiac disease in patients with autoimmune thyroid disease: from research studies to daily clinical practice.Ann Ital Med Int 2005 Jan-Mar; 20(1):39-44AI
Screening procedures performed in research-setting studies have shown that the prevalence of celiac disease in patients with autoimmune thyroid disease is approximately 4-15 times higher than the general population, thus suggesting that patients with autoimmune thyroid disease should be routinely screened for celiac disease. However, the performance of these screening programs has never been evaluated in everyday, clinical-practice setting. We invited newly diagnosed patients with autoimmune thyroid disease, seen at our Hospital, to participate in a serological screening for celiac disease. Two-hundred and thirty-one patients, female to male ratio 8.89:1, mean age 41.3 +/- 18.1 years, range 7.1-80.5 years were included. The number of diagnosed celiac disease was 0. Our results do not support the usefulness of a screening for celiac disease in patients with autoimmune thyroid disease in daily practice, despite the favorable results obtained in research-setting studies. Since screening is a resource-consuming activity, for both patients and clinicians, we suggest that a careful evaluation of the yield of a screening is always warranted before its adoption in the clinical practice.