Objective This study aimed to assess if there is secondary care medical inertia towards coeliac disease (CD).
Design Group (1): Time from primary care presentation to diagnostic endoscopy was quantified in 151 adult patients with a positive endomysial antibody test and compared with 92 adult patients with histologically proven inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Group (2): Across four hospitals, duodenal biopsy reports for suspected CD were reviewed (n=1423). Group (3): Clinical complexity was compared between known CD (n=102) and IBD (n=99) patients at their respective follow-up clinic appointments. Group (4): 50 gastroenterologists were questioned about their perspective on CD and IBD.
Results Group (1): Suspected coeliac patients waited significantly longer for diagnostic endoscopy following referral (48.5 (28–89) days) than suspected patients with IBD (34.5 (18–70) days; p=0.003). Group (2): 1423 patients underwent diagnostic endoscopy for possible CD, with only 40.0% meeting guidelines to take four biopsies. Increased diagnosis of CD occurred if guidelines were followed (10.1% vs 4.6% p<0.0001). 12.4% of newly diagnosed CD patients had at least one non-diagnostic gastroscopy in the 5 years prior to diagnosis. Group (4): 32.0% of gastroenterologists failed to identify that CD has greater prevalence in adults than IBD. Moreover, 36.0% of gastroenterologists felt that doctors were not required for the management of CD.
Conclusion Prolonged waiting times for endoscopy and inadequacies in biopsy technique were demonstrated suggesting medical inertia towards CD. However, this has to be balanced against rationalising care accordingly. A Coeliac UK National Patient Charter may standardise care across the UK.
- coeliac disease
- endoscopic procedures
- inflammatory bowel disease
- antiendomysial antibodies
Data availability statement
All data relevant to the study are included in the article or uploaded as online supplemental information. Data available on reasonable request from the corresponding author.
This is an open access article distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial (CC BY-NC 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt, build upon this work non-commercially, and license their derivative works on different terms, provided the original work is properly cited, appropriate credit is given, any changes made indicated, and the use is non-commercial. See: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/.
Statistics from Altmetric.com
Contributors DSS designed the study. RJB, GN, MAT, HAP and PDM recruited patient numbers and contributed to clinical data collection. All authors analysed the data. MAT, RJB and DSS drafted the manuscript. The final manuscript was revised and approved by all authors.
Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.
Competing interests None declared.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.
Supplemental material This content has been supplied by the author(s). It has not been vetted by BMJ Publishing Group Limited (BMJ) and may not have been peer-reviewed. Any opinions or recommendations discussed are solely those of the author(s) and are not endorsed by BMJ. BMJ disclaims all liability and responsibility arising from any reliance placed on the content. Where the content includes any translated material, BMJ does not warrant the accuracy and reliability of the translations (including but not limited to local regulations, clinical guidelines, terminology, drug names and drug dosages), and is not responsible for any error and/or omissions arising from translation and adaptation or otherwise.
If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.