Anti-endomysial and anti-gliadin antibodies in screening for coeliac disease in children at greater risk of developing coeliac disease.N Z Med J 2000; 113(1119):412-3NZ
To determine the prevalence of coeliac disease in selected groups of children presenting to a paediatric department.
Children presenting to the Paediatric Department at Christchurch Hospital were enrolled upon identification of one or more factors associated with increased risk of coeliac disease. All subjects were screened with anti-endomysial antibody and antigliadin antibody tests. Those children with positive tests underwent small bowel biopsy.
36 of 153 children had abnormal antibody tests. Seven (4.5%) of 34 children who underwent small bowel biopsies were found to have histological findings consistent with coeliac disease. Five of these children had presented with symptoms not classically ascribed to coeliac disease (failure to gain weight or non-specific abdominal pain).
The possibility of coeliac disease should be considered in children with atypical symptoms and the diagnosis excluded by appropriate testing. Recognition of the variable presentations associated with coeliac disease in children is clinically relevant.