Refractory celiac disease and sprue-like intestinal disease.World J Gastroenterol 2008; 14(6):828-30WJ
Celiac disease is a gluten-dependent small intestinal mucosal disorder that causes malabsorption, often with diarrhea and weight loss. Diagnosis is based on detection of typical biopsy changes in the proximal small bowel, followed by evidence for an unequivocal response to a gluten-free diet. Refractoriness in celiac disease may be due to poor diet compliance, sometimes intentional, or consumption of ubiquitious sources of gluten. Alternatively, the original diagnosis may not be correct (eg., duodenal Crohn's disease), or a second cause for symptoms may be present (eg., collagenous colitis, functional bowel disorder). In some with recurrent symptoms, a complication may be present (eg., collagenous sprue, small bowel carcinoma, lymphoma). In some, a response to a gluten-free diet can not be unequivocally defined, and more precise historical terms have been used including "sprue-like intestinal disease" or "unclassified sprue". Although a "wastebasket diagnosis", these likely represent a heterogeneous group, and some, but not all, may develop lymphoma. Precise definition will be critical in the future as an array of new treatments, including biological agents, may emerge.