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J Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr. 2009 Sep;49(3):374-6. doi: 10.1097/MPG.0b013e3181940e18.

Italian paediatricians' approach to coeliac disease diagnosis.

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  • 1Department of Pediatrics, University "Federico II," Naples, Italy.


The aim of this study was to investigate the current implementation of the 1990 ESPGHAN criteria for the diagnosis of celiac disease (CD) in Italy to form a foundation for their revision. From September 2006 to March 2007 a nationwide questionnaire concerning current diagnostic methods was sent by mail to 54 Italian centres for the diagnosis of CD, which were distributed across the entire national territory. The questionnaire investigated the tests performed, diagnostic criteria currently used, and the management of some special cases in each centre. Eighty percent of the centres use anti-tissue transglutaminase to diagnose CD and anti-endomysium antibodies to confirm the results. Fifty-five percent still use anti-gliadin antibodies. A total of 87.5% of centres perform HLA typing, especially in first-degree relatives and in unclear diagnosis. Regarding histology, 67.5% of centres consider an infiltrative lesion consistent with diagnosis of CD. The majority of centres (85%) use the 1990 ESPGHAN criteria for both symptomatic and asymptomatic patients, but 80% do not perform a second biopsy in asymptomatic cases or a gluten challenge in children younger than 2 years of age. Furthermore, most centres (72.5%) do not prescribe a gluten-free diet to asymptomatic patients with positive serology and normal bowel architecture (ie, potential cases), but they do program a careful follow-up. In conclusion, ESPGHAN criteria are widely followed by Italian CD centres. However, their revision may be useful, but it should be evidence based. Large, multicentre studies are greatly needed.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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