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Am J Gastroenterol. 2007 Apr;102(4):864-70. Epub 2007 Feb 23.

Long-term mortality in people with celiac disease diagnosed in childhood compared with adulthood: a population-based cohort study.

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University of Nottingham, Division of Epidemiology and Public Health, Medical School, Queen's Medical Centre, Nottingham NG7 2UH, United Kingdom.



To explore whether the excess mortality in celiac disease is related directly to the disease and duration of gluten exposure before diagnosis we have examined the long-term mortality experience of people with celiac disease diagnosed as children and as adults.


Two hundred eighty-five children and 340 adults diagnosed with celiac disease were followed until death, loss to follow-up, or December 31, 2004. We calculated standardized mortality ratios (SMRs).


All-cause mortality more than 5 yr after diagnosis was increased threefold in children (SMR 3.32, 95% CI 2.05-5.07) compared with only a 38% increase in adults (SMR 1.38, 95% CI 1.16-1.63). This excess mortality in children was primarily because of an increased risk of death from accidents, suicide, and violence (seven deaths, SMR 3.22, 95% CI 1.29-6.63), cancer (five deaths, SMR 3.72, 95% CI 1.21-8.67), and cerebrovascular disease (two deaths, SMR 10.03, 95% CI 1.21-36.00).


Children diagnosed with celiac disease had a threefold increased risk of long-term mortality. This is in marked contrast to the experience of adult celiac disease where the long-term increase of mortality was modest. The increased mortality in children from external causes may reflect behavioral change associated with coping with a chronic disease and its treatment.

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