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Do We Really Need Biopsies to Diagnose Celiac Disease?
https://www.celiac.com/articles/24826/1/Do-We-Really-Need-Biopsies-to-Diagnose-Celiac-Disease/Page1.html
Jefferson Adams

Jefferson Adams is a freelance writer living in San Francisco. His poems, essays and photographs have appeared in Antioch Review, Blue Mesa Review, CALIBAN, Hayden's Ferry Review, Huffington Post, the Mississippi Review, and Slate among others.

He is a member of both the National Writers Union, the International Federation of Journalists, and covers San Francisco Health News for Examiner.com.

 
By Jefferson Adams
Published on 07/13/2017
 

Until recently, duodenal biopsy was considered the gold standard for diagnosing celiac disease, but that is changing.

A number of studies have shown that celiac disease can be diagnosed using serological tests alone, but many clinicians have yet to embrace this approach.

In both retrospective and prospective studies, one research team showed that certain IgA-tissue transglutaminase antibodies levels can predict celiac disease in adults 100% of the time.


Can celiac disease be accurately detected without a biopsy?

Celiac.com 07/13/2017 - Until recently, duodenal biopsy was considered the gold standard for diagnosing celiac disease, but that is changing.

A number of studies have shown that celiac disease can be diagnosed using serological tests alone, but many clinicians have yet to embrace this approach.

In both retrospective and prospective studies, one research team showed that certain IgA-tissue transglutaminase antibodies levels can predict celiac disease in adults 100% of the time.

After making some adjustments to the analytical method for measuring the antibody, a team of researchers recently set out to to determine whether such serum tests can reliably diagnose celiac disease in large numbers adult patients without the need for small bowel biopsy.

The research team included GKT Holmes, JM Forsyth, S Knowles, H Seddon, PG Hill, and AS Austin.

They are variously associated with the Royal Derby Hospital, the Department of Pathology, and the Derby Digestive Diseases Centre at the Royal Derby Hospital in Derby, UK.

For their study, the team conducted a retrospective analysis in an unselected series of 270 adult patients who underwent small bowel biopsies and the measurement of serum IgA-tissue transglutaminase antibody levels from 2009 to 2014.

At an IgA-tissue transglutaminase antibody cut-off greater than 45 U/ml (>8×upper limit of normal+2SDs) the positive predictive value for CD in this cohort was 100%; 40% of cases were above this cut-off.

The team found that they could use IgA-tissue transglutaminase antibody levels to reliably diagnose celiac disease in a high proportion of these adult patients.

This study adds to the growing body of evidence that supports the diagnosis of celiac disease without a mandatory small bowel biopsy.

As a realist of these findings, the study team has changed the diagnostic guidelines for their center, and will now make celiac diagnosis based on cut-off levels of IgA-tissue transglutaminase.

This is exciting news. For many, many years, the biopsy was considered the gold standard for diagnosing celiac disease.

By eliminating biopsies in favor of IgA-tissue transglutaminase levels, diagnosing celiac disease could become much easier and even cheaper.

Do you have celiac disease? Did you receive a biopsy for diagnosis? How do you feel about celiac diagnosis without biopsy? Share your thoughts below.

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