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Br Med Bull. 2008;88(1):157-70. doi: 10.1093/bmb/ldn044. Epub 2008 Dec 10.

Coeliac disease.

Author information

  • 1Gastroenterology and Liver Unit, Royal Hallamshire Hospital, Room P39, P Floor, Glossop Road, Sheffield S102JF, UK. john.leeds@sth.nhs.uk

Abstract

INTRODUCTION:

Coeliac disease is a common but often under diagnosed condition with important complications. It is due to immune-mediated gluten intolerance and may present in a number of ways. It has become more frequently diagnosed due to the recognition of the atypical presentations. In recent years, more sensitive and specific serological markers have been developed but the gold standard of diagnosis remains duodenal biopsy. Compliance with a strict, lifelong gluten-free diet is the cornerstone of management, improving symptoms and reducing complications of the disease.

SOURCES OF DATA:

For this review, we focused on papers published on coeliac disease in recent years. Particular emphasis was given to clinical papers examining new methods for the diagnosis of coeliac disease or newer therapies for managing complications. The main source was PubMed and the major gastroenterology journals.

AREAS OF AGREEMENT:

Coeliac disease is more common than once thought with a prevalence of around 1%. Diagnosis should always be confirmed with a duodenal biopsy. Management of coeliac disease with a gluten-free diet remains the cornerstone of treatment.

AREAS OF CONTROVERSY:

Some complications of coeliac disease, especially neurological, are not widely accepted despite growing support from the literature. Management of enteropathy-associated lymphoma has been difficult, and the optimal therapy is not known.

GROWING POINTS:

Current understanding is such that coeliac disease is the most widely understood autoimmune condition. 'Atypical' presentations are becoming the most common presenting features of coeliac disease.

AREAS TIMELY FOR DEVELOPING RESEARCH:

Alternatives to the gluten-free diet are about to go into clinical studies. Similarly, better serological screening tests may obviate the need for duodenal biopsy. This review will try to summarize the current understanding of coeliac disease with regard to diagnosis, management, complications and future perspectives.

PMID:
19073695
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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