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J Pediatr. 2000 Dec;137(6):756-61.

Accuracy and cost-effectiveness of a new strategy to screen for celiac disease in children with Down syndrome.

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  • 1Department of Pediatrics, Leiden University Medical Center, Leiden, The Netherlands.



To investigate the best approach to screen for celiac disease (CD) in patients with Down syndrome (DS).


One hundred thirty-seven children with DS were followed up longitudinally. CD screening was offered in 1994, 1996, and 1999 by determination of serum immunoglobulin A-anti-endomysium antibodies (AEA). The HLA-DQA1*0501/DQB1*02 allelic combination known to be strongly positively associated with CD was typed. All IgA-AEA-positive children were given the opportunity to undergo a small bowel biopsy: if villous atrophy was found, the diagnosis of CD was established.


CD was diagnosed in 11 (8%) children: 8 in 1994 and 3 in 1996. All of them carried the HLA-DQ alleles associated with CD. The presence of symptoms was not useful in discriminating which children could have CD.


Screening once in a lifetime is not enough to detect CD in patients with DS. We propose a new, accurate, and cost-sparing 2-step strategy for screening, based on selection of the individuals with potential CD by HLA-DQ typing and on longitudinal serologic CD screening in this selected group.

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