Mild enteropathy as a cause of iron-deficiency anaemia of previously unknown origin.Dig Liver Dis. 2011 Jun; 43(6):448-53.DL
BACKGROUND AND AIMS
We assessed whether mild enteropathy with negative coeliac serology may be gluten-dependent, and a cause of iron-deficiency anaemia. In cases not responding to gluten-free diet, the role of Helicobacter pylori infection was evaluated.
55 consecutive unexplained iron-deficiency anaemia patients were included. In all of them we performed: HLA-DQ2/DQ8 coeliac genetic study, distal duodenum biopsies, and tests to assess H. pylori infection. A gluten-free diet or H. pylori eradication was used as indicated. Final diagnosis was established based on response to specific therapy after a 12-month follow-up period.
Histological findings were: (1) group A (positive genetics): 21 Marsh I, 2 Marsh IIIA, 12 normal; (2) group B (negative genetics): 16 Marsh I, 4 normal. Final diagnosis of anaemia in patients with enteropathy were: group A, gluten-sensitive enteropathy, 45%; H. pylori infection, 20%; gluten-sensitive enteropathy plus H. pylori, 10%; other, 10%; unknown, 15%; group B, gluten-sensitive enteropathy, 10%; H. pylori infection, 0% (1 non-eradicated case, 10%); non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug intake, 20%; other, 20%; unknown, 40% (p=0.033).
Mild enteropathy is frequent in patients with unexplained iron-deficiency anaemia and negative coeliac serology. Most cases are secondary to either gluten-sensitive enteropathy or H. pylori infection, or both; however, there is also a substantial number of patients without a definitive diagnosis.