Survey of Canadian gastroenterologists confirms need for consensus-based guidelines in care.
For patients with celiac disease, the medical team’s role doesn’t end at diagnosis. Celiacs need active follow-up, including annual medical visits, dietary review and possible routine testing, researchers noted. But a survey of Canadian gastroenterologists found follow-up practices can vary.
According to the survey, while 76% of respondents performed some level of follow-up care, 15% of adult gastroenterologists were not familiar with any celiac disease practice guideline.
More importantly, “the majority of gastroenterologists who did not routinely provide follow-up expected care to be provided by the patient's primary physician (86%),” researchers noted. The finding stresses the importance of education among the primary care community, a subject matter that American gastroenterologists also emphasize.
In light of the survey, researchers concluded: “The diverse practices reported underscore the need to develop consensus-based guidelines for long-term care of these patients."
Based upon the 2004 NIH Consensus Development Conference on Celiac Disease, the following six elements are key in the management of celiac disease :
- Consultation with a skilled dietitian
- Education about the disease
- Lifelong adherence to a gluten-free diet
- Identification and treatment of nutritional deficiencies
- Access to an advocacy group
- Continuous long-term follow-up by a multidisciplinary team