Of 58 children with suspected malabsorption, 27 were shown to have subtotal or partial atrophy, and 31 had normal mucosal histology. Oral glucose tolerance tests, faecal fat excretion, D-xylose excretion tests, Prosparol absorption studies, haematological investigations, and radiological examination of the small bowel failed to distinguish these two groups and frequently gave misleading results. It is concluded that in suspected coeliac disease small intestinal biopsy should be performed as a primary investigation.
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