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J Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr. 2012 Jan;54(1):15-9. doi: 10.1097/MPG.0b013e31822a00bb.

Coeliac disease diagnosis: ESPGHAN 1990 criteria or need for a change? Results of a questionnaire.

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  • 1Pediatric Gastroenterology Unit, La Fe University Hospital, Valencia, Spain.



A revision of criteria for diagnosing coeliac disease (CD) is being conducted by The European Society for Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology, and Nutrition (ESPGHAN). In parallel, we have performed a survey aimed to evaluate present practices for CD among paediatric gastroenterologists and to learn their views on the need for modification of present criteria for CD diagnosis.


Questionnaires were distributed to experienced paediatric gastroenterologists (ESPGHAN members) via the Internet.


Overall, 95 valid questionnaires were available for analysis, pertaining to 28 different countries, with the majority of responders treating patients with CD for >15 years. Only about 12% of the responders comply with present criteria, noncompliance being related mainly to the challenge policy. Approximately 90% request a revision and modification of the present criteria. Forty-four percent want to omit the small bowel biopsy in symptomatic children with positive anti-tissue transglutaminase immunoglobulin (Ig) A or endomysial IgA antibodies, especially if they are DQ2/DQ8 positive. For silent cases detected by screening with convincingly positive anti-tissue transglutaminase IgA or EMA IgA, about 30% consider that no small bowel biopsy should be required in selected cases. Adding human leukocyte antigen typing in the diagnostic workup was asked for by 42% of the responders. As for gluten challenge, a new policy is advocated restricting its obligation to cases whenever the diagnosis is doubtful or unclear.


Based on these opinions, revision of the ESPGHAN criteria for diagnosing CD is urgently needed.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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