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More than half of children with celiac disease don’t get recommended follow-up blood tests, study shows

May 23, 2024

Artificial intelligence used to identify children with celiac disease and assess their care

By Amy Ratner, director of scientific affairs

More than half of children with celiac disease did not get recommended blood test follow-ups in a study that used artificial intelligence to scan electronic health records to assess the care they received in the years after diagnosis.

Additionally, one third of children in the study had no documentation of celiac disease in records of the last two years of their medical care, the study says.

The study was detailed in one of two posters about children and follow-up care presented by Mayo Clinic researchers at Digestive Disease. In the other poster, researchers found that when children reach adulthood they don’t regularly transition to care for celiac disease, and one of the goals of research in this study was to find ways to identify them and improve care in early adulthood.

Guidelines for care of children with celiac disease recommend a follow-up visit and blood tests every 12 to 24 months after antibody levels related to celiac disease go back to normal, the researchers note. Regular follow-up improves the health of a child with celiac disease and prevents long term complications, the study says.

Artificial intelligence used to review health records

Researchers used artificial intelligence to review electronic health records to identify children with celiac disease from counties near the Mayo Clinic born from 1997 to 2016 and evaluate their medical care. Children in the study were up to 18 years old, with a median age of 8 years at diagnosis and 17 years at last follow up.

Follow-up was considered to be suboptimal when a child did not get follow-up celiac disease blood testing within any 24-month period after diagnosis. The study evaluated how often a celiac disease diagnosis was documented when children were seen for any health-related visits regardless of whether there was follow-up blood testing.

Follow-up lacking

Of 60 children included in the study, about 65 percent had not had follow-up blood tests in more than one year from their last healthcare visit and about 46 percent had not had bloods test for more than two years since their diagnosis.

Children who had optimal follow-up care had a lower rate of the recurrence of positive tissue transglutaminase IgA (TTG) blood test results compared to children who had suboptimal care, according to the study.

Artificial intelligence more easily identifies children with celiac disease in electronic health record review compared to other more labor intensive and time-consuming methods, leading to improved follow-up care, the study concludes.

DDW is the largest international gathering of physicians, researchers and academics in the fields of gastroenterology, hepatology, endoscopy and gastrointestinal surgery. Studies presented at DDW are sometimes preliminary and give an early look at investigations that are likely to include more details as they progress toward publication in a peer reviewed scientific journal. Studies selected to be presented at DDW go through a review process.


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