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Coeliac disease in the ERA of the new ESPGHAN and BSPGHAN guidelines: a prospective cohort study
  1. Elisa Benelli1,
  2. Valentina Carrato1,
  3. Stefano Martelossi2,
  4. Luca Ronfani2,
  5. Tarcisio Not1,2,
  6. Alessandro Ventura1,2
  1. 1Department of Medical, Surgical and Health Sciences, University of Trieste, Trieste, Italy
  2. 2Institute for Maternal and Child Health IRCCS ‘Burlo Garofolo’, Trieste, Italy
  1. Correspondence to Dr Elisa Benelli, Department of Medical, Surgical and Health Sciences, University of Trieste, Via dell'Istria 65, Trieste 34137, Italy; elisa.benelli{at}


Objective To evaluate the consequences of the last European Society of Paediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition (ESPGHAN) and British Society of Paediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition (BSPGHAN) guidelines for the diagnosis of coeliac disease (CD) by means of a prospective study.

Design Prospective cohort study.

Setting Institute for Maternal and Child Health IRCCS Burlo Garofolo (Trieste, Italy).

Patients Children diagnosed with CD without a duodenal biopsy (group 1), following the last ESPGHAN and BSPGHAN guidelines, and children diagnosed with a duodenal biopsy, matched for sex, age and year of diagnosis (group 2), were prospectively enrolled over a 3-year period. All patients were put on a gluten-free diet (GFD) and were followed up for clinical conditions and laboratory testing at 6 months every year since diagnosis (median follow up: 1.9 years).

Outcome measures Resolution of symptoms, body mass index, laboratory testing (haemoglobin, anti-transglutaminase IgA), adherence to a GFD, quality of life, and supplementary post-diagnosis medical consultations.

Results 51 out of 468 (11%) patients were diagnosed without a duodenal biopsy (group 1; median age 2.1 years) and matched to 92 patients diagnosed with a biopsy (group 2; median age 2.4 years). At the end of follow-up the two groups were statistically comparable in terms of clinical and nutritional status, anti-transglutaminase IgA antibody titres, quality of life, adherence to a GFD, and number of supplementary medical consultations.

Conclusions On the basis of this prospective study, diagnosis of CD can be reliably performed without a duodenal biopsy in approximately 11% of cases. At least during a medium-term follow-up, this approach has no negative consequences relating to clinical remission, adherence to diet, and quality of life of children with CD.

  • coeliac disease
  • diagnosis
  • biopsy
  • anti-transglutaminase IgA

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