Objectives: Celiac Disease (CD) is a disorder that impacts physical, social and emotional health. Requiring life-long treatment, it poses a major economic burden on the healthcare system. Our objective was to study CD in patients from initial presentation to diagnosis and to ascertain the effect of a low resource setting on improvement in disease process. Methods: This is a retrospective cross-sectional study conducted at a Aga Khan University Hospital (AKUH), a tertiary care center in Karachi, Pakistan. Medical records of patients (≥18 years) from 2008 to 2018 with a diagnosis of CD were reviewed. Data on demographics, presenting complaints, investigations, endoscopy results and follow up visits was collected. Results: One hundred and twenty-six patients were included (61.6% females, mean age 35.5 years). The most common intestinal and extra-intestinal symptoms were abdominal pain (56.3%) and fatigue (24.6%) respectively. After microcytic anemia (36.5%), increased ALT (27.2%) was the most common laboratory derangement. On endoscopy, visible fissuring (29.4%) and atrophic mucosa (29.4%) were reported. Biopsy findings showed increased intraepithelial lymphocytes (92.9%) and villous atrophy (77.8%). Improvement in at least one of three parameters (symptoms, laboratory values or EGD) was reported by 42.0% of subjects, whereas 48.4% subjects were lost to follow-up. Conclusion: The most commonly reported symptoms by CD patients were abdominal pain, diarrhea and anemia. Thus, patients presenting with vague abdominal symptoms and anemia should be worked up for CD. A concerning majority of subjects was lost to follow up for reasons such as inability to afford advised GFD and a poor understanding of the disease process.
- Autoimmune diseases
- Celiac disease