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Endoscopic Biopsy Technique in the Diagnosis of Celiac Disease: One Bite or Two?

Celiac.com 03/18/2015 - Getting high-quality biopsy specimens is key to making accurate celiac disease diagnoses. Endoscopists may take either a single- or double-biopsy specimen with each pass of the forceps.

Photo: CC--LabomikroDoes it matter whether they take one or two? Is two better than one?

A team of researchers recently set out to answer those questions, by comparing the quality of biopsy specimens obtained with the single-biopsy and double-biopsy techniques.

The research team includes M. Latorre, S.M. Lagana, D.E. Freedberg, S.K. Lewis, B. Lebwohl, G. Bhagat, and P. H. Green of the Celiac Disease Center, Department of Medicine, Columbia University, New York, New York, USA.

Their prospective cohort study looked at patients undergoing upper endoscopy with confirmed, suspected, or unknown celiac disease status. A total of 86 patients enrolled in the study, 47% with known celiac disease, 36% with suspected celiac disease, and 17% with an unknown celiac disease status.

In each case, patients received four biopsy specimens from the second portion of the duodenum. Two were made using the single-biopsy technique of 1 bite per pass of the forceps, and two more using the double-biopsy technique, which takes 2 bites per pass of the forceps.

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Specimens were blindly reviewed to determine orientation, consecutive crypt-to-villous units, and Marsh score. Well-oriented biopsy specimens were noted in 66% of patients with the single-biopsy technique and 42% of patients with the double-biopsy technique (P < .01).

Analysis of matched pairs showed improved orientation with the single-biopsy technique (odds ratio 3.1; 95% confidence interval, 1.5-7.1; P < .01). This persisted in subgroup analysis of patients with known celiac disease (P = .02), villous atrophy (P = .02), and a final diagnosis of celiac disease (P < .01).

Now, this is just a single-center trial, so results need to be compared with results from additional cities.

Interestingly, these results suggest that one bite is actually better than two, because the single-biopsy technique improves the yield of well-oriented duodenal biopsy specimens.

For best results, the endoscopists should consider taking only one biopsy specimen per pass of the forceps in patients undergoing biopsies of the duodenal mucosa.

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So just to clarify had not consumed any gluten for about 4 days before testing. I was assured by my allergist that it wouldn't affect the test. But what was alarming was that she retested my food allergies (my most recent reaction was two weeks ago) and every food allergy I have came back negative. I don't understand how that is possible. These food allergies developed when I was 20 and I am almost 24 now.

Thanks! You too! I have learned from this experience to take charge of my own health. It's nice at least that we can try the gluten-free treatment without a firm diagnosis or a doctor confirming the disease. I've also felt some of the gluten withdrawal symptoms, and my stomach pain ebbs and flows, but I'm determined to stick with the gluten-free diet to see what a difference it makes. Gemini, thank you! This was really validating and useful for me to hear. I've felt so confused through this process and just want some answers. If the biopsy results do come back negative, I'm going to follow your advice and do the gluten-free diet with repeat blood testing after a while. If they come back positive, well, then I'll have my answer. I'm supposed to get them back next week.

I have celiac and eosinaphalic esophagitis. I was put on a steroid inhaler recently. I use it like an inhaler but swallow the air instead of breathing it in. You may want to look into EOE and it's relationship to celiac. Just a thought. My swallowing and celiac seem to be related.

You have eat gluten every single day until after testing. And the celiac blood test is supposed to be done as well.

If I was the big guy, there's no way I would have to wait 3 and a half weeks for a test lol. My GI doc never recommended the antibody test. He said doing it with the scope was the only sure way to know. Does anybody know if I should eat a little gluten the day before my test to see if I will get an accurate enough test? Or will it not matter, once the damage is done it's done?