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A gluten-free diet score to evaluate dietary compliance in patients with coeliac disease

  • Federico Biagi (a1), Alida Andrealli (a1), Paola Ilaria Bianchi (a1), Alessandra Marchese (a1), Catherine Klersy (a2) and Gino Roberto Corazza (a1)
  • DOI:
  • Published online: 31 March 2009

A dietary interview performed by expert personnel is considered to be the most appropriate tool to check whether patients with coeliac disease follow a strict gluten-free diet. However, we currently have no straightforward and non-subjective method for performing such a dietary interview. We therefore developed a fast questionnaire based on four simple questions with a five-level score (0–IV). To verify whether our questionnaire is an efficient tool, we applied it to 168 coeliac patients (126 females and 42 males; mean age 42·4 (sd 12·9) years) on a gluten-free diet (median 82, 25th–75th percentile 50–108, range 15–389 months). The score we obtained was compared with the persistence of both villous atrophy and endomysial antibodies while on a gluten-free diet. A comparison with survival of the patients was also performed. Patients were interviewed over the phone by non-expert personnel. The questionnaire was completed in less than 1 min. The lowest results were significantly more frequent among the patients with a persistence of both villous atrophy and positive endomysial antibodies. Death risk was also significantly correlated with the lowest score results. We conclude that our questionnaire is a reliable and simple method of verifying compliance with a gluten-free diet.

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*Corresponding author: Dr F. Biagi, fax +39 0382 502618, email
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