Mass screening for celiac disease: a public health intervention from the participant perspective
2013 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Background Celiac disease (CD) is a chronic disorder in genetically predisposed individuals in which damage to the small intestine is caused by eating foods containing gluten. The prevalence has been shown to vary from around 1-3%, but most people with CD are undiagnosed. An option for finding those with unrecognized CD would include screening the general population, i.e., mass screening. However, screening identifies a pre-disease or disease condition in people who are presumed healthy and have not sought help. Therefore, the impacts of the screening process and being diagnosed through screening should be explored before such a public health intervention is considered. A population-based CD screening study involving 12-year-olds was undertaken in Sweden and provided an opportunity to explore these issues related to CD screening.
Aims To make inferences about the potential impacts mass screening for CD can have on participants by exploring experiences and outcomes for participants involved in CD screening study.
Methods and Subjects Both qualitative (short written narratives) and quantitative (questionnaires with EQ-5D instrument) methods were used. Children who participated in the CD screening study were invited to write narratives at the time of the screening, before screening results were known, describing their experience with the screening (n=240). The EQ-5D instrument was used to measure and compare health-related quality of life reported by participants at the time of the screening and one year after the screening-detected participants received their diagnosis (screening-detected n=103, referents n=483). Those with screening-detected CD were also invited to write narratives one and five years after their diagnosis. In these narratives the adolescents described how it felt to be diagnosed with CD, how it felt to live with CD, and if they thought all children should be screened (one-year follow-up n=91, five-year follow-up n=72).
Results Even though some children experienced fear and anxiety during the screening, overall they had, or were provided with, tools that allowed them to cope well with the screening. The health-related quality of life reported by those with screening-detected CD was similar before and one year after diagnosis (and similar to that of the referents). We also found that after five years of living with the diagnosis there had been maintenance and evolution in the beliefs and practices of these adolescents. Being detected through screening and the threat of complications impacted how they felt about the diagnosis, coped with the gluten-free diet, and what they thought about CD screening. Five years after the screening-detected diagnosis the adolescents have adjusted to the disease and adapted new habits and coping strategies to deal with the gluten-free diet. However, there are still those who doubt the accuracy and benefit of the diagnosis.
Conclusions Our findings suggest that it is possible for participants to avoid excess anxiety during CD screening. However, there was not consensus among participants that being detected and treated had improved their health-related quality of life or that the immediate benefits outweighed the harm caused by being detected in this way. When considering mass screening, the affect on the participants is important to take into account and our findings shed light on some of the potential impacts a CD mass screening could have on participants.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Umeå: Umeå University , 2013. , 89 p.
Umeå University medical dissertations, ISSN 0346-6612 ; 1597
adolescents, celiac disease, children, EQ-5D, intervention, public health, narrative, screening, screening-detected
Public Health, Global Health, Social Medicine and Epidemiology
Research subject Public health
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-81689ISBN: 978-91-7459-726-4OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-81689DiVA: diva2:658245
2013-11-15, Aulan, Care of Science Building (Vårdvetarhuset), Norrlands University Hospital (NUS), Umeå, 09:00 (English)
Grossman, David, Professor
Ivarsson, Anneli, Associate ProfessorEmmelin, Maria, ProfessorLindholm, Lars, Professor
List of papers