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Diagnosing Celiac Disease: Small Bowel Histopathology Results Can Vary Among Pathology Practices

Celiac.com 01/02/2012 - To properly diagnose celiac disease doctors must observe classic histological changes to small bowel mucosa. Success rates can vary among clinics and practitioners. A clinical team recently compared biopsy interpretation between different pathology practice types.

Photo: CC--MuffetA research team recently assessed variability in small bowel histopathology reporting between different pathology practice settings, and its impact celiac disease diagnosis.

The researchers included Carolina Arguelles-Grande, Christina A. Tennyson, Suzanne K. Lewis, Peter H. R. Green, and Govind Bhagat.

The team used a pathologist to blindly assessed biopsies from community hospitals (n=46), university hospitals (n=18) and commercial laboratories (n=38) for differences in histopathology reporting and agreement in diagnosis of celiac disease and degree of villous atrophy (VA) by k analysis.

Data showed very good agreement for primary diagnosis between the authors and university hospitals (k=0.888), but only moderate agreement compared with community hospitals (k=0.465) or commercial labs (k=0.419).

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The review showed that diagnosis varied in 26 (25%) cases, leading to a 20% increase in celiac disease diagnosis after review.

The 49 patients diagnosed with celiac disease by both institutions showed fair agreement in degree of VA (k=0.292), with moderate agreement between the authors and commercial laboratories (k=0.500) and fair agreement with university hospitals (k=0.290) or community hospitals (k=0.211).

In 27% of cases, the degree of VA was upgraded, while VA was downgraded in just 2% of cases. Data also showed poor agreement for Marsh score categories 1 and 2 (k<0.0316), with both missed at other centers, and just fair or moderate agreement for Marsh scores 3a and 3b.

They found that data on the degree of VA and intraepithelial lymphocytosis were lacking in 26% and 86% of reports, while non-quantifiable descriptors, such as ‘blunting’ or ‘marked atrophy’ were common.

The data show that community-based hospitals and commercial pathology labs are under-diagnosing celiac disease-related histological changes.

To combat variations in biopsy interpretation and reduce under-diagnosis of celiac disease, the team calls for greater celiac disease awareness and uniformity in small bowel biopsy reporting among pathologists.

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Hi! My daughter is 19 was diagnosed at age 16. It took about 12-18 month s for her to fully heal from the damage and feel "normal" again. Also because of the damage done she had reactions to dairy, so you may want to try no or minimum dairy until youre fully healed. Just a suggestion. Hope you start feeling well soon!

Hi yall! New to this blog, but really glad it exists because I have lots of questions. First off, I'm Allie! I'm 17 and newly diagnosed Celiac after about 3 years of searching for answers. I initially went gluten-free on the recommendation of a friend, I felt better in about a month and then my pediatric gastroenterologist had me do the gluten challenge, and my symptoms were the worst they have ever been, and ones I barely noticed before became very present. I did the biopsy and was diagnosed, it's been about 2 weeks and my symptoms are still pretty bad, although my diet has no known sources of gluten or cross contamination. Wondering if anyone has any input on healing post gluten challenge, any tips or how long it took for you would be quite helpful! Thanks

Might want to look into a keto diet, I have UC on top of celiacs and keto is working great Yeah I have major nerve and brain issues with gluten, gluten ataxia with nerve issues and brain issues. Seems to cause my body to attack my brain and nerve system. My brain stumbles fogs, and starts looping, the confusion causes me to become really irritable, I call it going Mr Hyde. Like my mind will start looping constantly on thoughts and not move driving me literally mad, or it used to. Now days it is primary the numbness anger but the gut issues and sometimes random motor loss limit me motionless to the floor now days for the duration of the major anger effects. Used to be a lot more mental then painful gut. I did a mental trauma post on it on while back where I came out about all my mental issues with gluten.

^^^^^^ good info, tips and tricks^^^^^^^^^ yes, crumbs will make you sick. also, breathing flour/pancake mix, etc that is in the air because eventually, you're going to swallow some.

Hello I was diagnosed Dec 15 of last year and went totally gluten-free the next day. I actually got worse before I got better - it's a steep learning curve - but now, 4 1/2 months later I'm finally seeing improvement. Hang in there.